Understanding American Indian and Alaska Native Early Childhood Needs

Understanding American Indian and Alaska Native Early Childhood Needs: The Potential of Existing Data

This report describes preliminary work in support of an early childhood needs assessment for American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) children prenatal to age five. The report uses existing data to describe the population of AI/AN children and families and their participation in early childhood services.

*Listen to and Download PDF of report here

Funding opportunity from the Office of Minority Health

Empowered Communities for a Healthier Nation Initiatives

The Office of Minority Health (OMH) is accepting applications for a cooperative agreement to reduce the impact of significant health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities and/or disadvantaged populations by implementing evidence-based strategies. The program aims to serve residents in communities disproportionately impacted by the opioid epidemic, childhood/adolescent obesity, and serious mental health disorders. OMH expects to fund as many as 16 cooperative agreements with up to $350,000 per year for up to three years.

Application Deadline: August 1, 2017 

Connections That Create Health, Wellness and Security

At the heart of Iḷisaġvik College’s Restorative Teachings project is the desire to nurture and support meaningful connections between early childhood students, their families, and the community as a whole. It is through these connections that knowledge of language and culture, love, respect, and compassion are passed from one generation to the next.For the Iñupiat, an ancient people who have inhabited the northern regions of Alaska for thousands of years, potlucks are an opportunity to build and maintain strong connections.It is a time to gather with friends and kin, share highly prized subsistence foods, and revel in aġġi, the holding of traditional drumming and dancing, which are always accompanied by warm conversation and laughter.

On a cold, dark winter afternoon in Utqiaġvik (Barrow, Alaska), the staff of Uqautchim Uglua Learning Center escorted nine of their two- and three-year-old children and 14 family members to Aimaaġvik Assisted Living Center to celebrate the season with a potluck held for the elder residents. Aimaaġvik, loosely translated as “a place for home,” is one of Uqautchim Uglua’s community partners, along with its parent organization the Arctic Slope Native Association (ASNA). Joining the celebration were staff members from Aimaaġvik, representatives from ASNA, and members of Iḷisaġvik College administration including Iḷisaġvik College President Pearl Brower. Forty-five participants celebrated and shared the abundance of locally harvested foods such as tuttu (caribou), maktak (bowhead whale blubber), pivsi (dried fish), and aġvik quaq (frozen raw whale meat).

The cooperation of many hearts and hands contributed to the success of the potluck. Because of the community members’ compassion and willingness to share, this gathering created meaningful connections across generations. From the sounds of children laughing to the Iñupiaq language flowing from elders, it is these connections that are necessary for true health, wellness and security.

During subsequent visits, the children of Uqautchim Uglua Learning Center returned to Aimaaġvik Assisted Living Center to entertain the elders with holiday songs and traditional dancing. In January 2017, they also returned to celebrate and welcome the New Year with their “adopted” aakas and aapas (grandparents) from Aimaaġvik.

by Kimberlee Brent, Iḷisaġvik College, Assistant Professor of Education, and Heidi Ahsoak, Uqautchim Uglua Learning Center, Center Manager



Grant Opportunity for Native Child Nutrition Programs

Deadline is May 5, 2017
First Nations Launches New “Nourishing Native Children: Feeding Our Future” Grant Program

LONGMONT, Colorado (April 12, 2017) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today launched a new grant program called “Nourishing Native Children: Feeding Our Future” thanks to generous funding provided by the Walmart Foundation. The effort will provide grants to Native American communities interested in expanding nutrition resources for existing programs that serve American Indian children ages 6-14. First Nations plans to award up to 10 grants of up to $15,000 each to continue or expand existing nutrition efforts.

The deadline for all online grant applications is May 5, 2017.
The grant period will commence June 1, 2017, and end January 31, 2018. The full Request for Proposals and the application link can be found at http://www.firstnations.org/grantmaking/2017NourishingNativeChildren.

Kids Art Contest!

We see it when we believe it.  Each one of us has a choice: to focus our energy on obstacles or opportunities. To fixate on our problems, or focus on solutions.  We can harp on what’s wrong with the world  (see most news media), or we can cultivate what’s right with the world. What we focus on grows.   

That’s why the Life is Good community shares one simple, unifying mission: to spread the power of optimism. 

*Learn more!

TIPS FOR RESEARCHERS: Strengthening Research that Benefits Native Youth

American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth deserve our very best. Although the phrase Native youth may hold different meanings for different audiences, use of the phrase here is meant to indicate AI/AN children and youth from the prenatal period to the age of twenty-four. Youth are a large and growing sector of AI/AN communities, making up 42 percent of the AI/AN population nationally and over 50 percent of the AI/AN population in some states like South Dakota. They are also growing up in contexts that are culturally, economically, environmentally, and technologically different from that of their parents and grandparents. Their notions of health, success, and identity are often distinct from those of other generations.

*Read the rest of the NCAI report here.

Webinar To Discuss Media Attention for Youth Making a Difference

On February 28, 2017, from 5 to 6 p.m. ET, OJJDP, in collaboration with United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY), will present “How To Get Media Attention for Your Youth Who Are Making a Difference.” This webinar will focus on how to garner media attention for the positive things youth are doing in their community. Participants will learn how to write an effective news release and prepare youth for media interviews.


Register for this free webinar.

Boys & Girls Club of Shawano #GiveLocal

Dr. Nicole Bowman, advisory board member of the Shawano Chapter of the Boys & Girls Club dropped off a little gift on their first day working with students. Based in Brener School in Shawano, the club’s mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring and responsible citizens.

Registration Open for WIEA 2017 Conference!

2017 Conference Registration is Now Open!
The Wisconsin Indian Education Association is pleased to announce that registration for the 2017 conference has officially opened along with the launch of our new website!
This year’s conference titled, Mino-Ayaa ‘Idiiwin: “Let’s Be Healthy Together”, will be hosted by WIEA’s Northeast Region and is set to take place on Friday and Saturday, May 12 and 13, 2017, at The Waters of Minocqua.
The conference includes events at Lakeland Union High School in Minocqua and Lake of the Torches Resort Convention Center in Lac du Flambeau, WI.
The 2017 WIEA Conference will feature keynote addresses by Ahinwake Rose, Executive Director, National Indian Education Association; Dr. Ricky White, Superintendent, Circle of Life Academy, White Earth, MN;  Mr. Justin Kii Huenemann, President & CEO, Notah Begay III Foundation; and Dr. Jim Bouche, Principal/District Administrator, Lakeland Union High School, Minocqua, WI.
Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to experience all that’s great in American Indian education!

New Funding Opportunity: Indigenous Project LAUNCH Due on 3/1/2017

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) is accepting applications for FY 2017 Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health in American Indian/Alaskan (AI/AN) Native Communities and U.S. Territories and Pacific Jurisdictions Cooperative Agreements (Short title:  Indigenous Project LAUNCH).

The purpose of this program is to promote the wellness of young children from birth to eight years within tribes, territories and Pacific Island jurisdictions by addressing the physical, social, emotional, cognitive and behavioral aspects of their development.

The goal of Project LAUNCH is for children to be thriving in safe, supportive environments, and entering school ready to learn and able to succeed.

Applications are due on March 1, 2017

Please share this announcement with your colleagues and tribal stakeholders. For more information, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/grants/grant-announcements/sm-17-004. Please send all questions to IndigenousLAUNCH@samhsa.hhs.gov.