Healing and Trauma

Native people are resilient – having gone through traumas across history with impacts that have devastated individuals, families, and communities. High rates of child abuse, domestic violence, suicide, and alcoholism affect Native people today.

But there is hope.

Hope in a world where children are protected and happy, where families are free of violence, where no one has to know what it means to grieve for a loved one lost to suicide. Hope for strong, healthy communities with people who lead with the heart of compassion, kindness, and courage.

Resource Lists

Compiled with care, these resource lists contain curated articles and toolkits about important topics related to healing, wellness, and trauma.

Intergeneration Trauma Resource Guide cover

Intergenerational and Historic Trauma

The resources and links in this guide provide more information on what historical/intergenerational trauma is, how it is experienced by Native communities, and how traditional cultural practices may be able to help Native people and communities heal.

trauma and resiliency resource list cover

Trauma and Resiliency 

Recognizing the impact of trauma on children, families, and professionals within the local tribal community context is an important piece of the trauma-informed and trauma-resilient puzzle. It is an ongoing relationship-building process to recognize and identify the strengths and resiliency of individuals and families. 

Adverse Childhood Experiences Resource List cover

Adverse Childhood Experiences

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have lifelong detrimental impacts on a person’s well-being. These resources include websites and other tools that may be helpful in building understanding of ACEs and American Indian and Alaska Native children.

Genetic Memory: How Trauma Can Change DNA 

Emerging science points to a broader understanding of genetics and what many Indigenous cultures have long understood about how things are passed from one generation to the next. This resource list provides introductory information on genetic memory, the soul wound, and the interconnectedness between genetics, intergenerational trauma, and adverse childhood experiences.

Suicide Prevention Resource List cover

Building Capacity Around Suicide Prevention in Tribal Child Welfare Programs

While depression and suicide affect everyone, American Indian and Alaskan Native people are at a higher risk, and Native youth are especially vulnerable. The resources compiled in this list from the Center for Tribes provide models and strategies for suicide prevention efforts as well as lessons for effective implementation.

Cross-Systems Resources to Support Healthy Generations

These resources are intended to help each community build upon their own unique strengths and identify their own sense of health and wellness for this and future generations. Acknowledging that each community is unique, these resources are intended to build on each community’s strengths of today and the past. 

Trauma-informed Supervision in Tribal Child Welfare resource cover

Trauma-Informed Supervision in Tribal Child Welfare

A key to engaging in trauma-informed supervisory practices in tribal child welfare is to make sure there are trauma-responsive practices in place to meet the needs of all staff. When staff members are supported through the professional hazard of trauma exposure, they are better able to deliver responsive and quality services to our relatives and communities.

trauma informed visitation fact sheet cover

Trauma-Informed Visitation
in Child Welfare 

Youth have a fundamental right to their families. Caseworkers can help facilitate a safe and supportive environment during visitation by recognizing interactions and behaviors that are trauma reactions to the removal experience and by responding with trauma-informed strategies that minimize re-traumatization during a family’s time together. 

trauma informed language in documentation cover

Trauma-Informed Language
in Tribal Child Welfare Documentation 

Documentation is the case roadmap for each person served by a tribal child welfare program. When documentation is trauma-informed and responsive to the individual trauma experiences of youth and families it can provide consistent insight and justification for decisions that support the healing and thriving of our relatives.

TIPS for Supporting Caregivers Resource cover

Trauma-Informed Practice Strategies for Supporting Caregivers of Native Youth in Out-of-Home Care

 This resource provides strategies and suggestions for both tribal child welfare programs and caseworkers to incorporate trauma-informed practices into their work supporting kinship and non-relative caregivers.

trauma informed youth transitions cover

Trauma-Informed Youth Transitions in Tribal Child Welfare 

Being mindful and aware of trauma experiences will help tribal child welfare programs decrease the negative effects youth may experience throughout the various transitions associated with removal, placement(s), and reunification. No two youth are exactly the same but all youth bring their thoughts, feelings, and questions with them as they transition in, through, and out of foster care. 

Trauma-informed Practice Strategies to Support Indigenous Transition-aged Youth resource cover

Trauma-Informed Practice Strategies to Support Indigenous Transition-Aged Youth

Connection to concrete resources provides additional opportunities for youth to gain the life skills necessary to navigate adulthood. The experience of trauma in childhood threatens and disrupts healthy development. Tribal child welfare programs and individual caseworkers who are aware of the impacts of adverse childhood experiences are better equipped to facilitate healthy healing and development and meaningful connections. 

Self-care resource list cover

Self-Care: Resources To Help Address Burnout and Increase Wellness in Tribal Child Welfare

 This resource list offers self-care techniques and tools for tribal child welfare professionals to keep themselves in balance.

Lakota Worldview

Lakota Worldview: The Smooth Journey (Video)

Lakota Worldview: The Interrupted Journey (Video)


In this two-part video series, Ethleen Iron Cloud-Two Dogs and Richard Two Dogs share information about the Lakota Worldview, describing the four stages of life recognized in the Lakota community and the ceremonies that accompany each stage. These ceremonies are believed to contribute to a balanced life from childhood through returning to the spirit world.

The first video describes a journey through life that is smooth and free from interruption. The second video describes the four stages of life and what happens when imbalance and disruptions occur in each stage.

For those interested in creating something similar for their own tribal communities, Rick and Ethleen share more information about their process and their thoughts for other tribal communities in the companion piece, Thoughts for Tribal Communities Interested in Creating a Resource Similar to the Lakota Worldview for their Community.


These recorded Capacity Building Center for Tribes webinars offer opportunities for tribal child welfare professionals to learn about intergenerational trauma, trauma-informed supervision, and healing within tribal families and communities.

The Impacts of Historic Trauma on Indigenous People in the United States

This webinar serves to build a foundational understanding of historic and intergenerational trauma and its impact on American Indian and Alaska Native peoples well-being.

Protective Factors and the Science Behind Resilience

This webinar looks at the science behind resilience and offers an in-depth exploration of protective factors that support resilience for children, families, and tribal communities.

Engaging Native Families 

Dr. Marilyn Bruguier Zimmerman discusses trauma-informed engagement and approaches in working with Native families in this presentation for the 2020 Child Welfare Virtual Expo. The slides are available for reference. 

We Are All Connected

Healing for Indigenous people is a powerful journey that can be collectively shared and/or can be a very personal path. This webinar explores and shares healing strategies from various Indigenous cultures as examples of how we are all connected.

Individual and Family Healing 

Healing for individuals and families can be a lifelong process that is unique for each person and/or family, it can be a stop and go process and can include searching and exploring different paths.

Community and Organizational Healing

This webinar focuses on how communities and organizations can engage in the healing process to increase their productivity, reach their goals and create a healing environment.

Secondary Traumatic Stress 

This webinar discusses the personal, professional, and organizational impacts of secondary traumatic stress and the unique resiliency factors present in tribal communities. Traditional practices and western methodologies that support resiliency and mitigate the impacts of secondary traumatic stress were shared.

Healing and Joy: Tools to Address Burnout and Increase Wellness in Tribal Child Welfare

During this 90-minute webinar, Center for Tribes staff share and practice self-care techniques, reflexive breathing, icebreakers, team-building exercises, and online resources for tribal child welfare professionals.

Self-Care Techniques for Tribal Child Welfare Professionals

This webinar explores what it truly means to care for ourselves and how to make selfcare an integral part of the structure and culture of our organization. 

Trauma-Informed Supervision: Maintaining Clear Roles with Realistic Expectations

This webinar reviews the science behind resilience and offers an in-depth exploration of protective factors that support resilience for children, families, and tribal communities.

Trauma-Informed Supervision: The Essential Need for Adaptive Leadership and Reflective Practice 

This webinar discusses practical trauma-informed strategies for tribal child welfare supervisors and programs that are grounded in cultural values.

Building a Trauma Lens

This webinar focuses on building a trauma lens that lends itself to utilizing a trauma-informed approach when providing services to American Indian children and families involved in child welfare.

Trauma-Informed Practice Strategies to Support Youth Transitions

This webinar focused on the importance of family engagement in minimizing experiences of trauma during youth transitions while bringing culturally relevant and trauma-informed practices to life. 

Arctic Winds Healing Winds:

Leadership for Change 

Arctic Winds Healing Winds: Leadership for Change (Video)

The project “Leadership for Results: Capacity Building” includes Alaska Native values/teachings and emphasizes that strong leadership—from all levels of society—is a key requirement in addressing issues that require substantial change. The project was piloted in 2015 with a group of Alaska Native leaders to help them strengthen their response to Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault in their villages. The program brought together fifteen key individuals from 3 villages as the first cohort with the overall goal to enhance and strengthen the leadership capacity around historical trauma (specifically domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse) and to get measurable results while increasing the strength of community networks.


How Can Communities Bring Healing and Build Leadership from Within?

Innovative projects that demonstrate the capacity of communities to respond to issues that impact their children and families are featured in this series of five infographics. Arctic Winds Healing Winds, a non-profit organization based in Alaska, uses a proven model for community healing that nurtures and develops leadership and data management skills.

Child welfare agencies can learn from these projects and gain ideas on how to engage and collaborate with community members to create lasting solutions to whatever challenge you face.





CBCT logo

The Children's Bureau, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, funds the Capacity Building Center for Tribes. The contents of this website and the resources herein do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Children's Bureau. 

Children's Bureau logo