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NICWA NEWS Quarterly Newsletter • Summer/Fall 2019



Intergenerational Learning and Teaching

National Indian Child Welfare Association 5100 SW Macadam Avenue, Suite 300 Portland, Oregon 97239 P (503) 222-4044 F (503) 222-4007 www.nicwa.org

The National Indian Child Welfare Association (NICWA) is a private, nonprofit, membership-based organization dedicated to the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native children and families. Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, NICWA serves tribes, individuals, and private organizations throughout the United States and Canada by serving as the most comprehensive source of information on American Indian child welfare and acting as the only national Native organization focused on building tribal capacity to prevent child abuse and neglect.

Our Mission

The National Indian Child Welfare Association is dedicated to the well-being of American Indian and Alaska Native children and families.

Board of Directors President Gil Vigil (Tesuque Pueblo) Vice President Angela Connor (Choctaw) Secretary W. Alex Wesaw (Pokagon Band of Potawatomi) Treasurer Gary Peterson (Skokomish) Members Teressa Baldwin (Inupiaq) Mikah Carlos (Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community) Rochelle Ettawageshik (Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians) Patricia Carter-Goodheart (Nez Perce) Jocelyn Formsma (Swampy Cree) Debra Foxcroft (Tseshaht First Nation) Luke Madrigal (Cahuilla Band of Indians) Aurene Martin (Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa) Robert McGhee (Poarch Band of Creek Indians) Lance Sanchez (Tohono O’odham Nation) Mary Tenorio (Santo Domingo Pueblo)

Board of Trustees

John Shagonaby (Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians) Brad Earl (Nez Perce descent) Sherry Salway Black (Oglala Lakota) Allard Teeple (Bay Mills Indian Community) Victor Rocha (Pechanga Band of LuiseĂąo Indians) Derek Valdo (Acoma Pueblo)

Founder and Senior Advisor Terry Cross (Seneca)

Executive Director

Sarah Kastelic (Alutiiq)

NICWA News is the quarterly newsletter for members and donors of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. Membership is available in multiple levels starting at $35. For reprint requests, additional copies, or other information, contact us at info@nicwa.org


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Policy Updates Inside NICWA Weaving Love, Culture, and Traditions Intergenerationally Programs Membership

Message from the Executive Director Dear NICWA Members, Sponsors, Donors, and Friends, I hope you and your family are enjoying summertime. While we often think of the summer season as being a break from school, some of the most important learning we do— intergenerational learning—often occurs during the summertime. The theme of this issue of NICWA News is intergenerational relationships and learning. Whether summertime in your family is an opportunity for fish camp, berry-picking, canoe journey, gathering cedar, culture camp, language classes, learning new arts and crafts, making regalia, participating in traditional ceremonies, or many other activities, this season is full of learning, especially about how we work together for the well-being of all of our family and community. While I have taken the opportunity to write about my family, and especially my first teachers (my parents), in NICWA News before, with this issue I want to acknowledge another important teacher in my life, NICWA’s founder and senior advisor, Terry Cross. Learning occurs in the context of a relationship between a student and a teacher, whether formally in a classroom or informally through the course of daily life. Throughout the last 20 years of my life, I’ve had the chance to learn from Terry in a wide range of formal and informal settings: in a classroom during trainings, traveling and working in Native communities, advocating for tribes and families in the halls of Congress, and through probably thousands of conversations. From Terry, I’ve learned about being an organizational leader and a stalwart advocate for Native children. In the hundreds of hours we’ve spent together, I’ve learned that in each new situation I encounter, I can choose to think first about what my culture teaches me about how to respond. I can think about the context in which the situation occurs and how my worldview might have bearing. This is significant information to use in analyzing any situation, identifying and weighing options—including tradeoffs— and making a decision that reflects my values. Most importantly, I’ve learned that I must make time for reflection and thoughtful decision-making, instead of jumping to a decision quickly because I’m pressed for time and eager to continue on down my “to do” list. With the gift of Terry’s teaching and the incredible opportunity to learn from him comes my responsibility to share what I’ve learned—to continue passing on information and experience as it is asked of me and as there are ways that I can contribute to the shared knowledge, wisdom, and well-being of our communities and people. Wishing you a season of relationship and learning,

Sarah Kastelic, PhD (Alutiiq)

Policy As we have seen in a number of contested ICWA cases, some adoption agencies and attorneys and their clients are using tactics designed to alienate birth parents, relatives, and tribes in their pursuit of children to adopt.

ICWA: A Protection Against Misuse of Public Child Welfare Systems Shortly before the year 1700, states began to establish a role in the protection of children by creating their own public child welfare systems. This important government function was beyond the capacity of most local communities and private charitable organizations. Public child welfare systems were needed to ensure a more consistent and high-quality standard of care for children and families that, at the time, was not readily available in all communities. While state public child welfare systems continue to evolve, there continues to be common understanding and acceptance of the role these systems play to support children and families and the need to seek solutions that further nurture a child’s relationship with their family and community. This understanding is reflected at the core of the Indian Child Welfare Act’s (ICWA) requirements for states and private agencies to work with American Indian and Alaska Native children and families.

While we are an Indian organization, NICWA’s concern extends to every child and family impacted by these adoption strategies. Public child welfare systems are first and foremost about ensuring children have a safe home, and systems should do this in a way that recognizes and nurtures the familial and cultural relationships of the children in their care. Adoption is a good option for many children, but it is not the right answer for children who already have other family members waiting to care for them. We applaud foster parents for the very important role they play to provide a temporary home and support for a child during what is undoubtedly a very difficult and emotional time in their lives. It is a role meant to be temporary in the vast majority of cases. Foster parents should only play a more permanent role in the case of Native children when work with the birth parents, relatives, and tribe has concluded. This is the role that is recognized by every major standard-setting organization in public child welfare and the one that foster parents are asked to agree to when they become licensed in every state. ICWA’s requirements remind us of these values and have stood the test of time because of the national recognition that ICWA is the gold standard in child welfare. ICWA is the clearest expression of how important it is for every child to know who they are.

Brackeen v. Bernhardt Update On August 9, 2019, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals published its decision in Brackeen v. Bernhardt, the federal court challenge to ICWA. Read our press release at www.nicwa.org/press-releases/.

Public child welfare systems began to change their relationship with foster families in the latter part of 20th century as a result of changing demographic trends. Fertility rates begin declining in the mid 1950s while the number of individuals who wanted to adopt children increased. At the same time, the number of children available for adoption began a steep decline. Individuals seeking to adopt found fewer children available within the United States, which drove a push toward international adoption. International adoption hit its peak in 2004 and declined precipitously through 2017 (the most current year for data) as various countries decided not to allow U.S. families to adopt their citizen children. As pressure to find adoptable children increased, new strategies were devised to make children in public child welfare systems available for adoption. 4 | Summer/Fall 2019

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

Inside NIC WA

NICWA’s Theory of Change NICWA’s theory of change illustrates the way we work with stakeholders in tribal communities on tribal lands and in urban areas to prevent child abuse and neglect by strengthening families, communities, tribal governments, and the laws that protect them. Using the Relational Worldview model, we focus on community or organizational environment, infrastructure, resources, and mission to achieve systems change at the community level, creating the conditions under which Native children, youth, and families thrive.

• • • • •

Using Our Beliefs

Self-determination Culture and language Holistic approaches Structural interventions Non-discrimination, equity, and healing

• • • • •

Being culturally based Traditional teachings Spirituality Being child centered Child safety and wellbeing

And Our Values

• Advocacy • Being family focused: preserving and strengthening extended families • Permanency: a child’s

right to family • Cultural competence • Collaborative, sustainable, consistent services • Tribal empowerment

• Being community based • Decolonization • Community and intergenerational healing

We Apply the Relational Worldview Model*

unity-Level Resu m m l Co Environment Infrastructure ts

Supportive public Tribal and urban Indian capacity Educated court systems Culturally based services Balanced media Functioning data systems Robust partner/ally network Effective governance structures Equitable funding access Sound fiscal, personnel, and Responsive agencies program management Informed policymakers Cooperative, holistic, and Foster a Grow strong Community readiness strengths-based services positive policy program Equitable access to and funding infrastructure, technology and data environment management, and governance

ategies Str

Foster and support self-determined, culturally based services


Spiritually based Values driven Trauma informed Respect for ancestral wisdom Alignment of principles with actions Sovereignty, safety, and identity Cultural integrity of functions, service, and actions Clear, shared mission and vision

Secure and promote adequate human and financial resources

To Support These Approaches • •

Community Development: Child Welfare, Children’s Mental Health, and Youth & Family Engagement Information and Training

• •


Informed advocates Well-trained workforce Adequate funding Informed, engaged tribal leaders Involved members and stakeholders

To Achieve the Ultimate Outcome

Government Affairs and Public Policy Research and Evaluation

Creating the conditions under which Native children, youth, and families thrive

*Cross, T. L. (1997). Understanding the relational worldview in Indian families (part 1). Pathways Practice Digest, 12(4), 5–6. Cross, T. L. (1997). Understanding the relational worldview in Indian families (part 2). Pathways Practice Digest, 12(5/6), 10–12.

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

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Weaving Love, Culture, and Traditions Intergenerationally


e know that our children thrive when they feel protected, are embraced in their culture, and are taught their traditions. By nourishing children with tribal teachings, they develop a sense of belonging and identity within their families and community. The fight to protect Native children is ongoing. As advocates for their rights and ways of life, we must continue to lift up the voices of our youth and families. We asked NICWA friends and community members to share their take on intergenerational learning and teaching.

Gwendalle Cooper (Cherokee) Elder “Approach everyone with honor, and respect your elders. Spend time with your grandparents because when they’re gone the knowledge goes with them. There are three sides to every story: your side, the other person’s side, and the right side.” “[Intergenerational sharing] keeps me alive. I’m almost 91. It encourages me by interacting with others. Sharing is really a gift and an opportunity to explore one’s self, because you can’t really look outwards for the problem but within yourself.”

Mark Light (Mohawk) NICWA 2020 Conference Artist “[Intergenerational sharing impacts my life positively] when people keep coming back for sweats and ceremony. There are some that first started coming around over 30 years ago and still do today. Bringing together sons, daughters, and grandchildren all sitting in the sweat lodge inside our Mother’s womb. We sing the same song in harmony with one mind while building a strong foundation for our youth and the next generation. It is very important to keep our children in our communities, making sure their minds are good to make a stronger nation.”

Mikah Carlos (Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community) NICWA Youth Board Member “Learning more about my people in general and understanding how I play my part and how that gives me purpose in my life and how I need to conduct myself as a Maricopa woman [has been important to learn]. When we talk about weaving, it’s not easy, it takes time, and there’s a lot of trial and error. It’s very reflective of life, the errors we make and lessons we learn to become better from them.” 6 | Summer/Fall 2019

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

Amari McCoy (Cherokee Nation) NCAI Youth Commission “I was lucky enough to be raised in a very traditional family so many of our traditional values were very present throughout my life. One teaching that has always stuck out in my mind is how we define family. When Sarah Kastelic presented to the Youth Commission at Mid-Year, this is something that she touched on that resonated with many of our youth. As Native people, our family is extended and goes far beyond the Western standard of a mother, father, and children. I believe this is why I’m so passionate about the work that NICWA is doing, because the foundation that ICWA was built on aligns with my traditional upbringing in that there is no linear definition to family; it’s our responsibility to be good relatives and take care of one another.”

Lorraine Brave (Mohawk) NICWA Consultant “The passing down our learning, which is oral, and our [NICWA] workshops and our conferences really celebrate the oral learning. There is much we can learn from the internet and books, but always the thing that no matter what age people come away with, they appreciate networking, learning from other people. I love the stories that trainers share; these are all passing over those experiences and learning from them. Now, I’m an elder. I can see some of the things that were difficult for me beginning in child welfare back in the 70s. I can help the younger people not have to go through the same learning process where there wasn’t anyone sharing information about how you work with the court, the state system, and tribal-state agreements that are among social workers every day. Not only are we working with tribes across the nation, we are working with First Nations in Canada as international workers who are addressing policy and law. Our work is so beyond what a typical mainstream social worker does. Our wisdom is shared through those stories.”

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

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Guiding Principles of Positive Indian Parenting Training participants frequently say that NICWA’s Positive Indian Parenting (PIP) curriculum is the best training they have ever received because of its teaching methods. As trainers, our main role is that of a nurturer and mentor to facilitate learning and teaching in a way that everyone can access. In that spirit, here are important lessons we’ve learned in facilitating PIP.

teachings. Very much like Indian culture, we take as much time as we need with each other in trainings. We take time to make sure we do things until we are finished doing them. We allow for space to share and experience being together. Those principles could also be fantastic parenting practices to incorporate.


Intergenerational Parenting

First, one of the most important aspects in training PIP is creating a communal, strengths-based place of belonging for participants. To begin each session, it is always suggested to start in a good way and begin with a prayer, song, ceremonial practice or smudging ritual, or whatever feels right for the group. Prayerful and traditional practices help to create an environment where participants feel pride and safe being themselves; it helps to unite them as a group. The group needs this prayerful practice so that they can begin to do their work of addressing parenting challenges, sharing successful parenting practices, and choosing what kind of parent they want to be.

Storytelling is central to Indian parenting. Storytellers, elders, and honored family members pass along teaching, while dominant society models an individual teacher where education is more about how to make a living. Traditionally, enhancing the value of the group was more important than a single person, and elders were invested and committed teachers for this reason. Traditionally, raising children was not the sole responsibility of biological parents but included grandparents, aunts and uncles, and community members. From generation to generation, the gift of traditional Indian parenting endures.

“Positive Indian Parenting nurtures, protects, guides, and teaches. It is central to all other aspects of life and is the foundation of a healthy culture.”

Inclusivity Much like keeping culture alive and thriving, the training environment and space must be inclusive and relevant to the needs of each participant. Trainers best suited for the job of facilitating PIP themselves have prior knowledge and understanding of traditional teaching of their tribe and/or of the participants’ tribal

Parent trainer quick tips: •


This annual award honors an individual or organization that has made outstanding contributions to the well-being of Indigenous children, families, and communities in the United States or Canada. Nominatations can recognize: • •

Incredible leaders Social workers

• •

Send a nomination to cmatthew@nicwa.org 8 | Summer/Fall 2019

Case managers Foster parents


Apply the traditional knowledge of your area, what you know, or your culture. Know the history, challenges, barriers, and strengths of the community that you serve. Never focus on a deficit, but always encourage and give space for growth and nurture growth.

Sign up for PIP training to learn how to train this curriculum in your community. Join us for an upcoming training institute at www.nicwa.org/training-institutes/. National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News


Community-Driven Ser vices from Grand Voices Over the past several years, NICWA and Generations United have been working with grandfamilies through a project called Grand Voices: Elevating and Strengthening African American and Native American Grandfamilies. With Grand Voices, we work together to improve culturally appropriate supports and equip family caregivers with actionable knowledge to help them work together with other advocates to improve services to their families and address racial inequities. This year, Grand Voices members Marisa Van Zile (Sokaogon Chippewa) and Wilma Tyner (Chippewa Cree) were awarded mini-grants to lead, plan, and implement culturally appropriate supports and services for grandfamilies in their communities. Wilma Tyner focused her grant on a Positive Indian Parenting Curriculum specialized from Chippewa Cree culture, belief, and language, titled Neiyahw Ojibewa Positive Parenting. In updating this Indian parenting

curriculum, she hopes to incorporate the elder in the right way, establish more Chippewa and Cree speakers, and pass on the spiritual and loving aspects of traditions, values, and parenting to the next generation. With extensive planning, Wilma has ensured a collaborative approach by bringing elders, department directors, community members, and students to develop the curriculum together. Marisa Van Zile’s grant is facilitating the Native American Families and Fatherhood Association’s Motherhood is Sacred, Fatherhood is Sacred class for the rural community where she lives in Michigan. Her experience taught her how invaluable support and sharing with other parents can be for someone involved in the foster care system. With some participants traveling up to 75 miles to attend the class, she makes sure to share a fundamental reminder in parenting children and grandchildren: we must take care of ourselves. In order to take care of our families, communities, and natural world, we must take care of ourselves.

Canoe Journey: Paddle to Lummi In the Pacific Northwest, tribes and first nations come together each year to travel their traditional waterways on Canoe Journey. Indigenous peoples of the Northwest have used river and ocean-going canoes to travel the waters to meet and gather for trade, ceremony, and celebration. Canoe Journey is a chance to celebrate that tradition with an intergenerational, intertribal, alcohol- and drug-free event that brings communities together. This year’s event was the Paddle to Lummi. Thousands of people attended, and over 100 canoes landed in Lummi. Lummi Nation, headquartered in Bellingham, Washington, hosted this year’s event, including four days of sharing songs, dances, and meals. One participating canoe family was the Portland All Nations Canoe Family. The members of the Portland All Nations Canoe Family are from tribal nations across Indian Country, but they are all part of the Native American community in Portland, where they are able to honor these teachings as well as their own. Also located in Portland, NICWA has worked with the Portland All Nations Canoe Family for several years, supporting the family with new lifejackets to keep them safe on the water, and most recently inviting the family to do a welcome and blessing for the Generations United conference—a NICWA partner’s conference focused on intergenerational collaboration and programming— in June 2019. One lesson that NICWA has learned is that every person in a canoe family has a role and purpose. From the baby whose laugh makes everyone smile, to the grandma who offers a song to the paddlers, everyone has a role in National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

supporting the family to function. NICWA’s work and values are centered around the Relational Worldview model, which is a model that looks at individual and family wellbeing around four quadrants represented in a circle and the balance between those quadrants.

Cont ext Context

Mind Mind

Spirit Spirit

Body Body

Canoe Journey can be observed around the four quadrants. For example, in the context quadrant, support of family and friends and connection to the water is part of Canoe Journey; in the mental quadrant, cultural identity, focus, and determination are part of Canoe Journey; in the body quadrant, eating traditional foods and the physical exercise of paddling are part of Canoe Journey; and in the spirit quadrant, connection to ancestry and healing are part of Canoe Journey. Each family member, in their role, contributes to the balance around this circle and the wellbeing of their family.

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Set Up a Social Work Student for Career Success We can’t stress enough how important a large pool of highly skilled social workers is to adequately serve Native children, families, and their communities. It’s a difficult but rewarding job, and we want to make sure we are keeping the sector strong by supporting those students transitioning from college or university into the workforce. At our annual conference in April, we asked our current members to sponsor a NICWA membership for a student of social work to prepare them with ICWA knowledge, a large support network of established professionals, and tools to affect change throughout their career. We are proud to announce that five generous NICWA members decided to gift memberships to students. That’s five new bright, driven child advocates who will now have the resources to do their best for Native communities. We’re so excited to welcome these student members to the NICWA family and look forward to partnering with them in their career pursuit of improving the lives of children and families. You can sponsor a social work student and set them up for career success by emailing membership@nicwa.org!

How We’re Growing This year, NICWA has been honored by the number of brand-new supporters who have aligned themselves with our mission. Last fall, we were featured in the Willamette Week’s Give!Guide, a Portland-based initiative to make charitable giving a life-long habit, and received an outpouring of support from individuals learning about NICWA for the first time:

I’ve recently been learning more about how many challenges are being faced by Native communities today. I can’t believe I never knew the history that led to ICWA being passed, or the battles that are still being fought every day. Thank you for educating me; I’m happy to support the cause! 10 | Summer/Fall 2019

Thank you so much for creating a beautiful, resilient community I can call home. We find hope in how many people are ready and willing to stand with Native communities when they hear our mission. And we’re excited to announce that we’ll be featured in Give!Guide again this year, where new and existing donors can support us and win prizes during November and December! You can follow our Facebook page or join our mailing list to stay up-to-date with this year’s campaign and learn about the amazing new incentives being offered to donors. If you’d like to share a story about your community stepping up and making a difference, or learn more about how to support our work, please email bnelson@nicwa.org to connect!

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

New and Renewing Members Individuals Abalone Yvonne Alvarez Sara Axtell Rebecca Baker Ophelia Battista Emerlynne Bear Comes Out Tileah Begay Elizabeth Blue Cathy Chalmers Marilyn Christensen Kim K. Christensen Julie Davis Lindsay Early Carlee Gorman Paul Gray Monica Hawley Bonnie Laforme Alisa Lee Linda M. Meanus Gretchen Morris Kristyn Neel Silvia Obregon Theresa Ortiz Dawnadair L. Raincloud Melissa Rodriguez Lisa Ruiz Tuanya Rutenbeck Angel Scherer Lauren Shapiro Nicole Stewart Jami Vigil Brandelle Whitworth Turquoise Robyn Black Feather David Chewiwie Mark Crawford Angela Emrich Jocelyn Formsma Ladybird Jack Sarah Kastelic Mildred Manuel David Montoya Beaver North Cloud Linda Resoff Coral Dione C. Carroll Henry Clayton Robert Frangenberg Denise Goodman Francine E. Jones

Luke Madrigal Sandra Mithlo Yvonne Mullan Nicole Seneca Shyanne Wallace Sage W. Ron Allen

Tribes Cedar Cook Inlet Tribal Council Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde Forest County Potawatomi Foundation Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma Chickasaw Nation Citizen Potawatomi Nation Poarch Band of Creek Indians Southcentral Foundation Quinault Indian Nation Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians Sherwood Valley Band of Pomo Indians of California Navajo Nation Division of Social Services Kaibab Band of Paiute Indians Ute Indian Tribe of the Uintah and Ouray Reservation Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community of Minnesota Prairie Island Indian Community in the State of Minnesota Pueblo of Isleta Sac and Fox Nation Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Rincon Band of Luiseùo Indians United Auburn Indian Community Sage

Organizations Cedar Handel Information Technologies Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council Indian Country Child Trauma Center Council on Accreditation Arizona State University School of Social Work Spirit Rock Consulting New Mexico Gas Company Sage Jacobson, Buffalo, Magnuson, Anderson & Hogen, P.C. Comcast Corporation Kauffman & Associates, Inc. Eaglesun Systems Products Native American Rights Fund First Alaskans Institute AMERIND Risk Management Corporation Laguna Development Corporation

Ak-Chin Indian Community Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians Absentee Shawnee Tribe of Oklahoma Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians Pueblo of Sandia Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians Tulalip Tribes of Washington Seminole Tribe of Florida

Amount: $500

Wisdom Circle Scholarship

Each year, we award one scholarship to a NICWA member. If you or someone you know is working to help Native families in social work, law, policy, research, education, tribal sovereignty, human rights, or health and wellness, check out our application requirements at www.nicwa.org/wisdom-circle-scholarship.

Applications Open!

Questions? Email membership@nicwa.org for help!

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

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National Indian Child Welfare Association 5100 SW Macadam Avenue, Suite 300, Portland, Oregon 97239 PHONE: (503) 222-4044 FAX: (503) 222-4007 WEB: www.nicwa.org

Denver, Colorado • March 29–April 1, 2020

Call for Presentations Now Open Apply by October 31 Visit www.nicwa.org/call-for-presentations Photo Credit: Bob Ashe for Denver Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau

Profile for National Indian Child Welfare Association

NICWA News | Summer/Fall 2019  

NICWA News is the quarterly newsletter for NICWA members and donors. For reprint requests, additional copies, or to learn about other inform...

NICWA News | Summer/Fall 2019  

NICWA News is the quarterly newsletter for NICWA members and donors. For reprint requests, additional copies, or to learn about other inform...

Profile for nicwa