American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth experience trauma at higher rates than other youth in the U.S. population. In fact, according to a report by the Indian Country Child Trauma Center (BigFoot et al., 2008), Native youth are 2.5 times more likely to experience trauma compared to their non-Native peers. A recent report from the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee on AI/AN Children Exposed to Violence noted that AI/AN juveniles experience posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at a rate of 22 percent, the same rate as veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, and triple the rate of the general population (Dorgan et al. 2014; Robin et al. 1996).
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services report, Addressing Trauma in American Indian and Alaska Native Youth, highlights several examples of trauma-informed interventions that aim to improve behavioral health for Native youth, families, and communities. The report also includes recommendations from the literature concerning promoting traditional healing, community-based practices, and integrated behavioral health services to improve overall wellbeing for AI/AN youth.