Every year, the National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) organizes a gathering for Tribal Systems of Care (SOC) grantees to share best practices from their children’s mental health systems of care.
Leading up to this gathering, NICWA partnered with tribal grantees such as the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in planning an experience to spur interaction and peer-to-peer learning.
The convening began with the Lummi Nation Youth Canoe Family providing a blessing to over 100 youth, elders, and Tribal SOC staff. Capt. Andy Hunt, Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration Government Project Officer, set the stage with an activity where tribal elders offered positive affirmations to tribal youth in attendance. It reminded everyone in the room of our purpose to raise the level of health and well-being of tribal youth.
The gathering highpoint was honoring Tribal SOC grantees with four-year grants ending this year. NICWA honored graduating tribal grantees with custom-made elk hide hand drums.
Each tribal grantee also recognized the graduating tribes by song, gifts, and kind words. By the end, the air was thick with cultural expression and support for one another.
Everyone in attendance was ready to return to their communities with new relationships built, new strategies to try, and renewed energy to continue improving their children’s mental health systems of care.
Learn more about NICWA’s work in children’s mental health.