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 the 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 impacts on education. Strengthening Resilience: Promoting Positive 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 Teachings1 and the Circle of Courage2 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 the traditional practices of 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 and 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 Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) titled 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.
Fox, L., Nielsen, S., Heitkamp, T. & Schroeder, S. (October 2020). Strengthening resilience: Promoting positive school mental health among Indigenous youth. [Toolkit]. Funded and peer-reviewed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center. Available at: mhttcnetwork.org/centers/mountain-plains-mhttc/product/strengthening-resilience-promoting-positive-school-mental