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Strengthening Resilience: Promoting Positive School Mental Health Among Indigenous Youth
The purpose of this document is to provide tools for K-12 educators, administrators, and mental health treatment providers to better address the learning and behavioral health needs of Indigenous youth in a holistic manner. It is also a resource for faculty working in higher education to prepare future professionals, particularly those planning to work in tribal communities with children and youth. The focus of this document is on resilience and well-being of Indigenous youth in a historical context. The historical review provides a greater understanding of the role of boarding schools, forced colonization, and assimilation resulting in cultural genocide and their impact on education.
Strengthening Resilience: Promoting Positive School Mental Health Among Indigenous Youth identifies how unmet needs can be addressed through a fictitious case scenario, focusing on resilience and culturally responsive practices. The document also addresses the role of trauma to assist educators and providers to advance a greater understanding of the cultural context of Indigenous youth. Strategies and resources are provided to include the Seven Teachings and the Circle of Courage that can be incorporated into traditional teachings in the k-12 curriculums and adapted in any school. This results in opportunities to teach all youth about traditional practices of our Indigenous populations. Finally, a host of resources are provided that are easily accessible to the reader who wishes to learn more about school-based responses that can be effective in working with Indigenous youth. The resources are based on best-practices to include increasing cultural awareness of tribal history, language, and culture within the full continuum of educational and behavioral health response.
This document serves as a supplement to the technical assistance efforts provided by Mountain Plain Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) entitled Building Capacity of School Personnel to Promote Mental Health in Native American Children and Youth. The focus of the training was to build capacity of school teams to promote positive mental health throughout the school day through embedded strategies in response to mental health needs of children and youth.
- LaVonne Fox
- Sarah Nielsen
- Thomasine Heitkamp
- Shawnda Schroeder