Gathering of Native Americans (GONA): Substance Abuse Prevention Curriculum

The Gathering of Native Americans (GONA) curriculum was first developed through a special initiative of the United States Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, in consultation with a team of Native American trainers and curriculum developers from across the United States. The GONA curriculum is intended to provide culturally specific substance abuse prevention training in Native American communities. Community healing from historical and cultural trauma is a central theme of the GONA approach. This includes an understanding and healing of self, family, and community. The curriculum focuses not only on alcohol and substance abuse, but the many underlying issues that may lead to individuals, families, and communities becoming at risk for addictions and self-destructive behaviors. The curriculum recognizes the importance Native American values, traditions, and spirituality play in healing from the effects of historical trauma and substance abuse. The four themes of the curriculum reflect the four levels of life’s teachings. They are: (1) Belonging: a time when infants and children learn who they are, where they belong, and a sense of protection; (2) Mastery: a time when adolescents and young adults learn to understand their gifts, their vision, where they come from, and how to master their talents; (3) Interdependence: a time for adulthood, responsibility to others and an understanding of interconnectedness with all things; and (4) Generosity: a time when, as elders, families and communities can give back through sharing of wisdom, teachings, culture, rituals, stories, and song. By following the life’s stages of personal development, the GONA curriculum provides a structure for Native American communities to begin to address what it means to heal from the effects of historical trauma and alcohol and substance abuse in communities, and how to develop community response plans and strategies.

Population of focus: American Indian or Alaska Native

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Date: 2016

Organization: Indian Health Service and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration