Roberta Gibson, Freedom Lodge Inc., Black Hills Historical Trauma Research & Recovery Center, USA
American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children suffer exposure to violence at rates higher than any other race in the united States. The immediate and long term effects include increased rates of altered neurological development, poor physical/mental health, diminished school performance, substance abuse, and overrepresentation in juvenile justice systems. Chronic exposure to violence often leads to toxic stress reactions, severe trauma, and catastrophic, unprecedented rates of youth suicide. We are designing / implementing a longitudinal, qualitative and theoretical research project to articulate the present day impact of Historical Trauma on AI/AN youth, and the capacity of IBSP to reconcile the constellation of survival symptoms, guided by maternal epigenetic memory pathways and attachments to homelands / ancestors. AI/AN children are the seventh generation post-European exposure, and the significant generation when historical burdens accumulate to epic proportions. Something is needed to interrupt the cycle, and it is my hope that IBSP will be shown to provide cure. Indigenous youth stand at a crossroad – they can either be the harbingers of change, or a final act of genocide. It is a pivotal moment in history. Can IBSP foster youth to keep their body and soul together?

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