Meeting the Traditional and Spiritual Needs of Native Americans

NNEDLearn 2014 Participant: Yakama Nation Behavioral Health

Description: The program includes meeting the traditional and spiritual needs of the Native people living in the service area through Shaker meetings, Washat ceremonies, knowledge of family history, traditional teachings and the understanding of generational trauma. The following are some of the features of the program:

  • Elder or Cultural Specialist is a part of the clinical staffing if needed for guidance with families and/or client.
  • Summer camp in the closed area where elders and cultural specialist are always asked and invited to attend as part of the camp staff members.
  • If requested by the client, prayer services with local religious leaders are arranged.

Population of focus: Native Americans

Setting: Reservation

Level of focus: Individual, Family Community


  • Arranged shaker meetings for those families who wish to have prayer in their homes and for their families.
  • Held 14 summer wellness camps, with elders and spiritual leaders being asked to participate as part of staff for families to talk with and interact with as needed.
  • Had a full time Cultural Specialist in the past who was part of the Behavioral Health staff who had the ability to share the history of tribal teachings and stories. As well as family history of clients and their relationships and the capability to discuss with families what historical traumas occurred within the Yakama Nation.
  • Provided mentor-ship in learning the Yakama culture and traditions.