Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance

Award Winning "Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance" Series

Holly Echo-Hawk
Publication Date: Nov 23, 2022

The tribal component of the New England MHTTC developed a partnership with the United South and Eastern Tribes, Inc. (USET) and developed the Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance monthly behavioral health teleECHO* series. The series was launched in January 2022 and was a resounding success in reaching and engaging over 2,000 tribal and non-tribal behavioral health providers in New England and across the nation. The New England MHTTC tribal behavioral health advisor, Holly Echo-Hawk, served as the lead for the tribal ECHO development both for content and tribal behavioral health speaker recommendations. In addition, a faculty team was developed to provide further tribal mental health and substance use advice on content recommendations.




The Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance series title was carefully selected and intentional in its message to health care providers to: a) assume the intelligence and strengths of Indigenous people that they see in their practice; and b) provide examples of ways to reframe mental and behavioral health services for Native people by centering treatment in Indigenous perspectives. Each monthly session also featured Native dance, song, or spoken word video shorts that were placed at the start and end of each session. The song lyrics, spoken word, or purpose of the dance matched the topic for each month.


2022 Topics

Topics for the 11-month series were developed in advance as a suite of topics that build on each other to deepen and reinforce culturally responsive approaches to Native behavioral health. Topics for the 2022 series, each featuring nationally-recognized Native behavioral health experts, included: Nurturing Psychological Brilliance and Resilience in Native Youth; Native Influence on Modern Psychological Theory and Impact of Western Worldview on Indigenous Behavioral Health; Native Help-Declining and Help-Seeking; Native Trauma and Post-Traumatic Growth; Assessment and Diagnosis through an Indigenous Lens; Substance Use and Hungry Ghosts; Indigenous Healing Practices in Native Live Re-balance; Life Transformation through Strength-Based Resources and Crisis Preparedness (which featured the only Native 988 program in the U.S.); and Reframing Native Mental Health with principles of “Alter-Native Psy-ence.” CEU credits for participants were available through partnership with Cardea Services, a national women of color-led organization based in Seattle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention supported the speaker honorariums and CEU costs through an Opioid Overdose Prevention in Tribal Communities grant with USET.



A total of 1,976 individuals registered for the Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance series during the nine-month period of January-September 2022. During the initial nine months, registrants ranged from 317 to 486 people each month. The number of actual attendees each month ranged from 112 to 207 individuals, all eager to expand their knowledge of Indigenous people and deepen their cultural knowledge and clinical skills. In addition, the January-August 2022 registrants represented:

  • 372 Tribal Nations (for context, there are a total of 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States)
  • 52 federal and state partner organizations
  • 99 Native organizations
  • 84 schools and universities
  • 117 health clinics, hospitals, and treatment centers
  • 12 regional Tribal Epidemiology Centers (there are a total of 12 Tribal Epidemiology Centers in the United States)


National Award

In September 2022, the Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance series received a Heroes in Health Outstanding Service Award for National Impact Award from the 39th annual National Tribal Health Conference, sponsored by the National Indian Health Board and held at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC. The USET leadership who accepted the award on behalf of the team in Washington, DC on September 27, 2022 include Kitcki Carroll, USET Executive Director, Bernice Youpee-Jordan, THPS Public Health Program Manager, and Onawa Miller, THPS Director.


Next Steps

The Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance series will continue in 2023 and planning is underway for the 2023 topics with input from our audience. The one-hour sessions will continue to occur on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 11:00-12:00 PT/Noon-1:00 MT/1:00-2:00 CT/2:00-3:00 ET. To register and add a session to your calendar please click here


*The Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance series joined the national Indian Country ECHO network of teleECHO no-cost training programs. Indian Country ECHO is coordinated by the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (Oregon) and promotes interactive online learning environments where clinicians and staff learn from clinical experts from across Indian Country. ECHO is the acronym for Enhancing Community Health Care Outcomes.


“The use of the term ‘reclaiming’ in our 2022 tribal behavioral health educational series called Reclaiming Native Psychological Brilliance was intentional. This monthly one-hour series not only provides tribal best practices on how to build on the innate intelligence and life experiences of Native people in treatment settings, but also consistently reframes how to support healthy life balance from a perspective of strength. If you have the honor to serve a Native person, assume that you are in the presence of brilliance and go forward from there.” Holly Echo-Hawk, Senior Tribal Behavioral Health Advisor, New England MHTTC