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What is the National Native Children's Trauma Center?

The National Native Children’s Trauma Center (NNCTC) is a Category II Treatment and Service Adaptation Center within the National Child Traumatic Stress Network. Our center provides national expertise on childhood trauma among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children and offers trainings and consultations to community agencies, tribal programs, clinicians, school personnel, technicians, and families on the impacts and prevention of childhood traumatic stress.


Approximately 1 in 4 U.S. children will experience a significant traumatic event by the age of 16. Research suggests that Native American youth are at increased risk of trauma, depression, and PTSD as a result of grief and exposure to violence. Most Native children possess strong resilience and do not develop traumatic stress symptoms. However, some need additional care.

When exposure to traumatic events occurs frequently, or when traumatic stress is left unaddressed, children may be susceptible to relationship problems, drug and alcohol abuse, violent behavior, suicide and depression, problems in school, and bullying and victimization.


The mission of the National Native Childhood Trauma Center is to address high rates of traumatic stress among American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) children by working under the guidance of tribal nations to implement, adapt, and evaluate trauma interventions. This work requires understanding, respect, and honoring of tribal sovereignty, specific community needs, and the use of traditional healing practices.


  1. Significantly increase and disseminate the number of culturally relevant, evidence-based interventions for use with AI/AN children (particularly interventions to be delivered in schools) and disseminate these interventions nationally, both on and off reservations and within the NCTSN.
  2. Develop a network of trained, culturally competent educators, mental health providers, and law enforcement personnel able to meet the needs of AI/AN children who experience traumatic stress.
  3. Increase the amount of research detailing the processes through which AI/AN children experience and cope with traumatic stress. 

What We Believe

  • Tribes know the consequences of trauma in their communities and are intensifying their commitments to community, family, and individual wellness in response.
  • Many non-tribal mental health service providers and treatment models minimize the value of tribal holistic practices.
  • In the past, tribes have been exploited by universities and other institutional researchers.
  • Exploitation remains a concern even with well-intentioned researchers and universities when they are culturally uninformed.
  • Tribes exist as sovereign nations and therefore must be the arbiters when questions arise about the types of research that will best serve tribal members.
  • Any products or outcomes of research, such as data and other forms of intellectual property, are owned by the tribe.
  • Trauma intervention is necessary for and effective with Native American children. 

Our Commitment

  • We will respond to tribes’ identified community needs for trauma interventions.
  • We will follow the guidance of the tribe in establishing a collaborative process for implementing, adapting, and evaluating trauma interventions.
  • We will safeguard tribal ownership of data collected during the course of institutional and government-sponsored programs and research.
  • We will maintain communication with tribal partners beyond project funding periods to advance community wellbeing and best practices in Indian Country.

To see a full list of interventions and trainings offered by the IERS and NNCTC staff, please visit our Interventions and Trainings page.

Funding for this project (1 U79 SMO58145-01) was made possible (in part) by SM-06-005 cooperative agreement from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). The views expressed in written materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention of trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.