Northwest Indian College Center for Health
Native Connections Program
2021 Community Building Award Recipient
The Northwest Indian College Center for Health, Native Connections Program conducted research to identify 24 coast-Salish “protective factors” that span across 4 themes: family, individual, spirituality, and community. They use those protective factors as the keystone for their strength-based prevention programs to provide health and wellness options to members of the local community, specifically youth.
These programs include suicide prevention, drug and substance abuse prevention, and events such as the annual “walking with our ancestors” program. Over the years, walking with our ancestors has grown through partnerships with the Lummi Culture Department and Summer Youth Program to include 60 community youth visiting Orcas Island. At this youth gathering event, local native facilitators communicate through storytelling and teaching “schelangen” meaning ‘our way of life’. Additionally, youth and program partners engaged in a cultural history program about clam digging and the history of the water and its provisions as a protective factor.
Through grants, the Center for Health supports many native programs focused on Lummi Nation and provides some support to Swinomish and Upper Skagit nations.
We are honored to recognize the Northwest Indian College Center for Health, Native Connections Program for their strength-based and care-focused efforts.
To watch the 24th Annual Ken Gass Community Building Awards in which the NWIC Center for Health, Native Connections Program is recognized, click here.