Year of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - Campus Access Only

Degree Type

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Name

Individualized Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program

Department or School/College

Interdisciplinary Studies Program

Committee Chair

Richard van den Pol

Commitee Members

James Caringi, David Schuldberg, Wade Davies, Roberta Evans


University of Montana


Many American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) children live in communities with high rates of poverty, substance abuse, suicide, domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, and neglect (Goodkind, Ross-Toledo, John, Hall, Ross, Freeland, & Lee, 2010). A national examination of the rates at which AIAN children are exposed to violence and the circumstances of violence exposure was initiated in 2013. This manuscript describes the qualitative research methods employed by a 12-member study group and the findings of their research. The members were appointed by Attorney General Eric Holder who named the group his Advisory Committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence, hereafter the Advisory Committee (AC).

The 2014 Advisory Committee confirmed that the levels of violence and childhood violence exposure in Indian Country greatly exceed the “epidemic” levels reported for all American youth by a previous Task Force in 2012. These overwhelming levels of chronic victimization and exposure to violent events has a devastating impact on the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of AIAN children. The level of services available for AIAN children and youth are not sufficient to meet their needs. However, victims and providers who testified provided a number of promising solutions.

The complete dissertation consists of two parts. Part I is a description of the AC investigation and report, framed as a qualitative research study employing the Narrative Method Design (Creswell, 2013), referred to below as “the Study.” Part II is the 246-page publication of the United States Department of Justice released in 2014, entitled Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on American Indian/Alaska Native Children Exposed to Violence: Ending Violence so Children Can Thrive (AIAN CEV Report), referred to below as “the Report.” Per the University of Montana Graduate School, the Report is available at anreport.pdf.

The author of the Study is one of the twelve Advisory Committee members who collaborated on the design, data collection, analysis, and writing of the AIAN CEV Report.

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© Copyright 2016 Marilyn Joan Bruguier Zimmerman