Episode 69: Engaging Indigenous Families and Communities

Date: January 2021

Length: 51:52

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Transcript:   cwig_podcast_transcript_episode_69.pdf   [PDF, 181 KB]

“Be humble in your approach; acknowledge that you have a lot to learn from their community […] Provide them with a safe space to work in, but also recognize that you are not the one who determines if the space is safe or not; it's not by your standards, it's by theirs. Families know what works with them, right? Service providers can support that by listening to their voice and following their lead.”
—Kimee Wind-Hummingbird, training and technical assistance specialist, National Native Children's Trauma Center

In the 2019 Child Maltreatment Report, the reported victimization rate of American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN) children (14.8 per 1,000 children) is nearly twice of white children (7.8 per 1,000 children). For those States and jurisdictions that work with Tribes on child welfare issues, it is imperative to recognize their agency may work with Native communities differently than other States and may work differently with each Native community they engage. Caseworkers from non-Tribal backgrounds or with limited experience working with Native families can benefit from learning about those communities' specific histories and traditions, along with the Federal laws and general history shared between State and local agencies and American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

This episode shares insight from the National Native Children's Trauma Center (NNCTC) for those caseworkers and agencies that are working or will work with indigenous communities to support children and families. Recognizing how Tribal communities approach child-rearing, community and family structures, justice, and law enforcement—and how those approaches may differ from what caseworkers may view as healthy—is important to developing trusting and supportive relationships.

NNCTC is a Category II Treatment and Service Adaptation Center within the National Child Traumatic Stress Network that focuses on increasing service providers' ability to respond to the trauma-related needs of AI/AN children and youth in culturally appropriate ways. NNCTC works on projects with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, and the Children's Bureau Capacity Building Center for Tribes.

The following individuals are featured in this episode:

  • Kimee Wind-Hummingbird, training and technical assistance specialist, National Native Children's Trauma Center
  • Alan Rabideau, youth and family engagement specialist, National Native Children's Trauma Center

Topics discussed include the following:

  • Why Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) provisions can't be implemented in the same manner for every Tribe or Nation state and local child welfare professionals work with
  • How historical trauma within Native and Tribal communities is strongly connected to intergenerational trauma
  • What guidance State and local child welfare caseworkers and agencies can use when engaging with Native families and communities