All Nations Health Center (All Nations) purposes the Healing Indigenous Relatives program to provide a culturally based, gender-affirming space of healing for our relatives of all genders. Healing Indigenous Relatives will create and expand programs geared towards providing cultural healing opportunities for survivors, support for survivors escaping abusive households, sweat lodge sessions, educational awareness events, and training for our community partners to respond to AIAN survivors in a culturally appropriate way. Healing Indigenous Relatives aims to bring survivors a sense of identity and belonging with survivor-led access to culture, whether that be traditional sweat lodges, conversations with elders, or traditional crafting projects. With the help of a broad and diverse coalition of partner agencies, Healing Indigenous Relatives seeks to advocate for survivors and their families, train the Missoula community on how to spot indicators of trafficking, and bring the community together to offer a space of holistic wellness.
Healing Indigenous Relatives aims to create a cultural curriculum unique and respectful of each Montana Tribal Nation. Stories, traditions, language, elder anecdotes, and other teachings survivors would like to learn about their beliefs will be offered through this curriculum as a way to connect survivors to one another and their individual tribal nations. Healing Indigenous Relatives will create working relationships with each Tribe and their designated knowledge keepers to respectfully learn from each elder or cultural practitioner. Talking Circles, traditional sweat lodge series, medicine and berry picking trips, and other activities will be routine programming offers under Healing Indigenous Relatives.
With the high rates PTSD, anxiety, and other health complications that come from violence inflicted on AIANs, bring survivors a sense of cultural connection is a paramount theme of this programming. To decrease the violence AIANs experience in childhood and as adults, Healing Indigenous Relatives will implement evidence-based practices, like Mending Broken Hearts and Mending the Sacred Hoop, to help survivors process their grief, loss, and intergenerational trauma. Similar models will be introduced to healthcare providers, educators, law enforcement agents, victim advocates, and other members of our community to ensure that our partners have access to tools that will make AIAN survivors feel welcomed and acknowledge culturally in predominately white institutions and services.
Ultimately, Healing Indigenous Relatives aims to bridge the gap in services for AIAN survivors, train our partners on culturally appropriate ways to interact with survivors, and educate our community on how we can all play a role in decreasing the prevalence of domestic and sexual violence, child maltreatment, and human trafficking in our AIAN community.