Reclaiming our roots: Accomplishments and challenges

  • King J
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Best practices for Native Americans are rooted in culture. However, reclaiming best practices is a challenge given the genocidal policies that outlawed Native culture. Despite this challenge Native people have proven resilient in restoring culture. The Native American Health Center in Oakland, California, has made cultural interventions an option for an urban, intertribal and sometimes multiracial Native American population to create and maintain their health on a spiritual, emotional, mental and physical level. Nevertheless, sustaining these cultural options to maintain health continues to be a challenge. While the passage of the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) in 2004 in California to transform treatment of mental and behavioral health "as we know it" would seem to create a gateway for cultural options, mainstream mental health has a hard time perceiving cultural interventions as a viable means to treat mental illness and maintain wellness. Frequently, the author has attended meetings of decisionmaking bodies that oversee how MHSA money is spent and someone will blurt out after someone has described an innovative cultural intervention "What does that have to do with mental illness?" The following article discusses how the clash of the two cultures, Native and mainstream, continues to be a challenge for sustained funding to implement culturally competent programs.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Competence
  • Culture
  • Intervention
  • MHSA
  • Prevention
  • Trauma

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  • Janet King

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