Franklin James Cook

Community Group Lobbies Schools for Native Healing Ways

In Policy on November 14, 2008 at 5:55 am

ORIGINAL REPORT — The Gallup Independent reports on a tribal group using the Project Trust Partnership’s recently released “Report and Recommendations for Enhancing the Well-Being of Native American Youth, Families, and Communities” to bolster its claims for improved services to young people.

The local group — Coalition for Healthy and Resilient Youth — held meetings among tribal people in four communities, Crownpoint, Gallup, Shiprock and To’Hajilee.

They … talked to a number of Navajo medicine men and got their thoughts. What they found is that the healing system in this area is backward. Instead of having Western medicine be the primary way of healing, they said the area should give that responsibility back to the medicine men.

Then the coalition went to the Gallup-McKinley County School District to share their own findings, along with the recommendations of the Project Trust Partnership, which, according to an Executive Summary, identifies “several key issues” that are causing young people’s “deep mistrust of western behavioral health services and providers.”

… lack of awareness of the impact of historical trauma and institutional racism on the mental health of Native youth, and lack of integration of this understanding into behavioral health services; evidence-based practices being imposed on Native youths that are not developed with and for Native communities; absence of traditional healing practices and cultural teachings in many behavioral health services; exclusion of youth and their families from behavioral health service planning and policy development …

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