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NICWA NEWS Quarterly Newsletter • Winter 2020


LATEST INSIDE Envisioning Our Indigenous Futures

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 Envisioning Our Indigenous Futures Programs Membership

Message from the Executive Director Dear NICWA Members, Sponsors, Donors, and Friends, Often in the fall/winter, with Native American Heritage Month upon us, we are looking backward to history, lifting up the many contributions our American Indian/Alaska Native people have made to contemporary US society. Yet as the calendar year ends, we also have the opportunity to envision and plan for our future. While ongoing attacks on tribal sovereignty leave us feeling uncertain and questioning what our futures may hold, I take heart in numerous things I see around me. Two specific things that are referenced in this issue of NICWA News I’ll mention here. First, this year NICWA worked with the First Nations Health Council (FNHC) in British Columbia, Canada, to support a mental health and wellness initiative, including significant federal and provincial funding investments (see page 7). NICWA engaged First Nations communities, including chief and council, service providers, natural helpers and healers, elders, youth, and community members with lived experience with mental health challenges, to understand how communities defined mental health and wellness. The goal is to use community indicators of mental health and wellness as a measurement framework to assess the impact of government investments and self-determined community strategies to strengthen mental health and wellness. This work is ongoing, but the opportunity to use community experience and wisdom to craft tools to measure progress toward improved mental health is positive. As NICWA’s founder and senior advisor Terry Cross says, “measure what you value, and people will value what you measure.” The second experience I had in the last few months that gives me hope for a bright future for Native communities is participation in the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Youth Commission at the NCAI Annual Convention in October. After consulting with NICWA’s youth board members, I presented to the Youth Commission about the Brackeen v. Bernhardt litigation (see page 4) and our advocacy to protect the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). I talked with young people from across the country about ICWA and asked them why ICWA was important and what was at stake. Their conversations inspired me, and you can read about them on page 5. As we take stock of the last year and plan for the future, I thank you for all that you are doing—in your professional role and as a member of our community—to support Native families and youth. Thank you for the time, energy, and financial and emotional resources that you devote to families and children, strengthening their opportunity for a bright future. Wishing you a season of relationship and learning,

Sarah Kastelic, PhD (Alutiiq)

Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals Grants Rehearing in Brackeen v. Bernhardt ICWA Case On November 7, 2019, the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted rehearing en banc of the decision in the Brackeen v. Bernhardt case that found the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) and its regulations unconstitutional. In August, a three-judge panel in the Fifth Circuit overturned a lower federal court decision which reaffirmed the constitutionality of ICWA. According to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit Appellate Procedure Guide, hearings and rehearings en banc are not favored and ordinarily will not be ordered unless en banc consideration is necessary to secure or maintain uniformity of the court’s decisions, or the proceeding involves a question of exceptional importance. In this case, rehearing en banc means a majority of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals judges (around 15 judges) will hear the case. The rehearing en banc is scheduled for January 22, 2020, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Amicus briefs in support of the federal government and tribal positions in the case were filed for the rehearing. NICWA and our Protect ICWA Campaign partners, the National Congress of American Indians, Association on American Indian Affairs, and Native American Rights Fund, released a statement on November 7, 2019, to stress the importance of ICWA to Native families and communities. Excerpts from the statement include: …We remain confident that upon rehearing en banc the full court will [arrive at the same decision]... …For centuries, the United States Congress, Executive Branch, and Supreme Court have affirmed the unique political status of tribal nations and Native people. ICWA was enacted with that unique political status in mind and applies only to tribal nations that share a government-to-government relationship with the United States and to Indian children and families who share in that relationship. We are confident the Fifth Circuit will affirm ICWA’s strong constitutional grounding… 4 | Winter 2020

…For more than 150 years, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that this federal authority to legislate with regard to tribal nations and Native people is not limited by reservation borders but extends to wherever Indians may live. When Congress enacted ICWA, it carefully balanced the respective powers of tribes, states, and the federal government to create a process that protects Indian children nationwide…

“…ICWA is vital for protecting the well-being of Indian children across the United States today and tomorrow. The Protect ICWA Campaign will continue to work with tribal nations, tribal leaders, and allies to ensure a strong Indian Child Welfare Act for future generations of Indian families…”

The Protect ICWA Campaign is engaged with federal, state, and tribal government partners as well as mainstream allies in this litigation. NICWA leads Campaign communications and media-related strategies as well as works with Congress, states, and private agency partners on policy strategies to strengthen ICWA implementation and compliance. Find more information about Brackeen v. Bernhardt and other policy updates by visiting www.nicwa.org/policyupdate/. Stay up to date by reading our latest press releases at www.nicwa.org/press-releases/. If you have questions about the lawsuit or how you can help, please direct them to NICWA’s government affairs and advocacy director David Simmons at desimmons@nicwa.org. National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

Inside NIC WA Supporting Local Causes and Organizations

Local Volunteerism

NICWA’s mission is to support the safety, health, wellbeing, and spiritual strength of American Indian/Alaska Native youth and families. NICWA does this in many ways: we serve as a resource for individual families who have questions about the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA); we provide technical assistance to tribes; and we advocate on key policy issues to improve services for children and families. A lesser-known way we work towards our mission is through our Local Community Engagement Team. NICWA’s Local Community Engagement Team meets monthly to discuss how our small budget and volunteerism can make a positive impact on local Native youth and families. Historically, the team has sponsored Tiny Tots at the Delta Park Powwow, held bake sales to raise funds to buy holiday gifts for the Siletz Portland Head Start program, and purchased life vests and gas cards to support the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) canoe family’s participation in the Canoe Journey. For the last three years, we have sponsored the NAYA youth basketball teams by donating funds to purchase jerseys for all nine teams. This local support for athletes means the difference in individual family and community support. Because of NICWA’s Local Community Engagement Team support, the NAYA basketball teams only need to worry about playing their hardest and leaving it all out there on the court. National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

Each year, NICWA celebrates the holiday season by giving back. This year, NICWA’s Local Community Engagement Team hosted two bake sales and a giving tree to raise funds to purchase gifts for the Siletz Tribal Head Start program, including the teachers, students, and their families. NICWA staff visited the school and spent an afternoon participating in activities with the children and staff and delivered the gifts. As communities are at the center of our work, we look forward to this opportunity to be in community and share joy with this special program every year. Building relationships with Native communities is an important way we are able to support the greater Portland area during the holiday season and yearround.

Storytelling with Terry Cross At NICWA, we believe that Native culture is one of the greatest resources we can draw on in our work with Native communities to strengthen families and the well-being of children. At the board and staff levels as well as with our partners, we encourage opportunities to share our traditions and what they mean to us. At our fall staff retreat, NICWA founder and senior advisor, Terry Cross, a member of the Seneca Nation, shared the story of the No Face doll and taught us how to make our own from corn husks. The storytelling was a highlight for many of us, as it interwove cultural and spiritual values and life lessons. We bonded while creating our unique dolls, helping each other to complete our projects. While we went on to review updated organizational policies and procedures, several staff finished beading projects they started at our last retreat. We ended the day with an activity to remind us of the interconnectedness we share and support one another with words of encouragement.

Winter 2020 | 5

Envisioning Our Indigenous Futures As we ring in the new decade and round out the last, we pay tribute to the past, present, and future generations of leaders advocating for Native children everywhere. We interviewed Angela Connor (Choctaw), MSW, the director of foster care and adoptions at Children and Family Services of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Angela was elected to the NICWA Board of Directors in 2013, serves as the chair of our Program Committee, and is our newly elected vice president. What’s the most fulfilling part of your role as a NICWA board member? As a social worker, I was always told that if you want change on a broad spectrum, that change is done through policy. I was the vice president for four years and the president for four years of the Oklahoma Indian Child Welfare Association, and I worked on statelevel policy issues. I would say that the most fulfilling part of being on the NICWA board is advocating for tribes at a national level. Additionally, I have personally enjoyed learning about international Indigenous issues and the opportunity to join with Indian Country to be a voice in the protection of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

I really see the importance of this connection, and that’s why I’m such a strong advocate for ICWA. I’ve seen kids now over the years and how it’s impacted their lives when they don’t return home or return to their communities.

What drives you in your role as the director of foster care and adoptions? Children want a sense of belonging and a sense of identity of who they are. Children want to know the answers to questions like “Who am I? Who do I belong to? Where did I come from?” Knowing that they have a tribal family, tribal community, and biological family truly helps children feel healthy and whole. I really embrace that knowledge in my work. What drives me is finding homes What motivates you to for kids, especially those who have been in advocate for ICWA? the state system for years and don’t have I have been working in the social work field permanency. Recently, I came across a little for 30 years. Twenty-two of those years have boy in our state child welfare system that is included working with tribal communities. Choctaw. He’s 12 years old, and he’s been in I got into tribal child welfare because Indian state foster care since he was 4 weeks old. I children need to stay within their communities made it a goal to find him a permanent home and within their families if possible. Now within a year, and we did. That’s the most having done this work for so long, I’ve seen fulfilling part of my job—meeting the needs kids who have aged out of the system or who of children. I love working with foster parents have been adopted and want to go back to and helping them realize that some families their communities or their biological family. need help in order to get their kids back. 6 | Winter 2020

I love to be a bridge between foster parents and biological parents so that biological parents can get their kids back. Last year, Choctaw Nation certified 30 new homes, and 18 of our tribal homes adopted children. I’m thrilled that many tribal homes adopted and that these children have a permanent family. What are your highest hopes for young people today? For the young people in foster care, my highest hopes are to ensure they have a safe place until they can return home or have a permanent home in their tribal community. As we envision our Indigenous futures, what words of encouragement do you have for those new to working with Native children and families? We all have a purpose in this life. If your calling is to help children, do it to the best of your ability as though it were your own family needing help. I know that my role, or calling, is to be an advocate and a voice for children. Also, do not lose sight of the big picture. Change doesn’t happen overnight, but we all can change. Remember that no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes. With your help and tools, you can empower families to change.

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

At the National Congress of American Indians 76th Annual Convention, we asked Native youth why ICWA is important to Native children, families, and communities and how communities are working together to help Native children thrive. The quotes below are excerpts from powerful conversations about ICWA advocacy and are a foundation for building a strong future for Native youth and their communities:

“ICWA is our inherent right as a sovereign nation. It shouldn’t be questioned. It’s non-debatable based off of our history. As Indigenous people, we have sovereign rights within our tribes. When they put a Native child in a non-Native home, it infringes on their sovereign rights as a Native person.” “To stay connected to our culture, roots, and to keep values within our tribes, we want to keep the kids spiritually connected and traditionally connected.” “ICWA is important because it helps keep our communities intact, and that means that our Native culture is also intact and alive.” “Children can stay in touch with their tribe and know their culture and traditions. It’s important for the communities, because we need children and they’re our future.” “Culture classes in communities that do song and dance, and where they learn their language and their subsistence lifestyle help Native children thrive.”

“Attending conferences to learn to self-advocate for our people.” “A lot of times, in our schools, we aren’t represented in history and things like that and so we need to develop a culturally relevant curriculum that is catered to our language and our art forms and keep our ceremonies, like our powwows, alive." “Support, family workshops, like counseling, and finding the kids’ own true self and bringing that to their family are examples [of how communities help Native children thrive].” “When you have a Native family or community around a Native child, it really does take a full community to raise a child. When you have a nonNative family with a Native person that doesn’t understand their background, their history, what they’ve gone through, they can’t offer the right support as what the Native community could offer.”

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

Winter 2020 | 7

Umatilla Youth Leadership Council Par ticipates in Google My Maps Training Over the last year, the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation’s Youth Leadership Council has worked with NICWA on a community asset mapping project in their community—the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Eastern Oregon. How does community asset mapping work? First, the council chose three topics as issues that they wanted to focus on: culture and language, suicide prevention, and drug and alcohol use. Then, the council divided into groups and collected information about all of the assets in their community related to each topic. Once they completed their information and data collection, they examined in detail what assets they had, if there were gaps where assets could be expanded or created, and what

community perceptions told them about each topic. This asset mapping will help them envision the future they desire for their community. The council didn’t want to just record their assets in an Excel spreadsheet, so they decided to map them using Google My Maps. On November 10, local Google My Maps community expert and high school teacher June Morris and NICWA’s government affairs director David Simmons traveled to Umatilla to train the council on Google My Maps. Eleven youth learned how to upload videos and photos to My Maps as well as how to make their map password protected. Huddled around laptops, they watched as Ms. Morris demonstrated the components of My Maps. Youth then had the opportunity to practice the

skills on iPads and had conversations about how this tool can be helpful with their community asset mapping. Council members plan to take what they learned from the training to continue to map their assets and share what they’ve learned and what they would like to see as a result of participating in this process with their tribal council.

Developing a Mental Health and Wellness Framework : First Nations Health Council and First Nations Communities For more than 20 years, NICWA has partnered with First Nation communities to measure outcomes that matter to them. A value that NICWA brings to all of our research and evaluation work is a community-based participatory research (CBPR) approach. We believe that communities are the experts in their lived experience and have important insights and perspectives to contribute to any research partnership. Community members are best positioned to inform realistic research designs, appropriate measures and instrumentation, and data collection methods. Moreover, community members are central to accurate and meaningful analysis of data and the interpretation of results. NICWA does not undertake any research or evaluation project without a CBPR approach, or, as communities tell us, “no decisions about us without us.” A CBPR approach is about empowering stakeholders to tell the story of their 8 | Winter 2020

population or community in a way that gives them valuable information about how to best achieve the outcomes they desire for their children, youth, and families. At the same time, the process of measuring community defined outcomes must be defensible and rigorous. CBPR gives authority to the community’s voice—their lived experience and perspective. NICWA identifies the stakeholders’ desired outcomes, eliciting them through focus groups, key informant interviews, community data collection activities (like a world café,1 nominal group process, or other group activity), online surveys, and document analysis. NICWA then determines what instruments can provide measures for the specified outcomes.

and experience if the mental health and wellness initiative currently underway in the province is successful. NICWA is working with FNHC to identify outcomes to track and to determine what data will need to be collected to ensure that the outcomes that matter to communities are being measured. The result of this work will be a reporting framework that gathers the data that matters most to communities and informs their work locally as well as informs policymakers and funders province-wide.

In March 2019, NICWA was contracted by the First Nations Health Council (FNHC) to use this process to learn what community-defined outcomes First Nations in British Columbia would see


For more about this process and the outcomes First Nations communities identified to include in the measurement framework, please see the Spring 2020 issue of NICWA News. For information about the word café method, see www.theworldcafe.com/key-conceptsresources/world-cafe-method/.

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News


Updated Curriculum: Working with Substance-Abusing Families NICWA has spent the past year updating and greatly expanding our Working with Substance-Abusing Families (WWSAF) material. Over the past year, demand for the curriculum and in-person training has increased, and we are excited to be able to offer these pilot products to communities. The curriculum is organized around 10 core lessons: • Issues in Substance Abuse • Basics of Addiction and Recovery • Substance Abuse and Child Welfare • Identifying Substance Abuse • Mobilizing Treatment • Supporting Treatment • Providing Post-Treatment Casework • Assisting the Child(ren) • Service Coordination and Collaboration • Healing the Healer Each of the 10 lessons include an overview, learning objectives, relevant

content, discussion questions, exercises, references, and additional suggested readings. On November 12–14, 2019, we piloted the training at our November Training Institute in Portland, Oregon. We had over 40 people registered for the training and gathered detailed feedback on the structure and content of the materials and training delivery. Participants shared the following comments: • “The most important takeaway is the recovery timeline.” • “Perspectives from professionals in the field that are in long-term recovery. There is hope.” • “I feel like I have a complete overview and understanding of the client challenges with substances. I thought I knew a lot before I came to this training, but the training taught me more.”

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

When asked what changes they would make as a result of this training, participants shared some amazing things. Some of them included: • •

“Being more aware of the child, not just focusing on the parents.” “The change takes a more personal form in that I would like to try to influence attitudes and reduce judgement when it comes to addicts in our community and how they are regarded. Currently they are judged rather than welcomed into healing.” “I realized the importance of visitation between parents and children regardless if the parent is still abusing substances.”

NICWA is excited to offer this training again in June and September 2020 as we continue to update and revise the material. At the end of 2020, NICWA will also launch an online version of the Working with Substance-Abusing Families training.

Winter 2020 | 9

Call for Member of the Year Nominations Open until Friday, February 14, 2020 NICWA honors and recognizes an outstanding individual member or program at our annual membership meeting, an event that kicks off our four-day annual conference. We are looking for nominees who demonstrate outstanding service, contributions, and leadership in their profession as well as involvement as a member of NICWA. Since our inception, NICWA’s purpose has been to protect and promote the best interest of Native children. Our work has been guided by our vision that every American Indian and Alaska Native child should have access to community-based, culturally appropriate services which help them grow up safe, healthy, and spiritually strong. Our members are the embodiment of this work, and we want to recognize one of you for your work. Nominate yourself, your program, or a colleague or friend today. The nomination deadline is 5:00 p.m. PST on Friday, February 14, 2020. Nomination forms can be found at www.nicwa.org/ member-of-the-year, or by emailing membership@nicwa.org.

Apply for the Wisdom Circle Scholarship Each year NICWA awards one $500 merit-based scholarship to support professional development to a NICWA member who works in or with the Indian child welfare field and demonstrates significant motivation in advancing their education or professional skills.

• • •

The application deadline is 5:00 p.m. PST on Monday, March 16, 2020. Application forms can be found at www. nicwa.org/wisdom-circle-scholarship, or by emailing membership@nicwa.org.

To be eligible, you must be a current NICWA member or working in one of the following fields related to Indian child welfare: • Social Work • Law • Policy • Research

10 | Winter 2020

Education Tribal Sovereignty/Human Rights Behavioral/Mental Health and Wellness

If possible, NICWA will present the check and acknowledge the hard work of the recipient during the membership reception that kicks off our four-day annual conference.

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

New and Renewing Members Individuals




Yvonne Alvarez Raymond Aguilar Jr Elizabeth Alaback Robert Albert Maria Alidio Sylvia Andrew Marilou Bleecker Karen Boehm Lindsay Bothe Erin Burggraf Diane Burr Nicole Cabrera Mikah Carlos Patricia Carter-Goodheart Nina Caso Ashley Chaves Kristin Cook Rita Coosewoon Delores Cunejo Kimberly Cushway Joseph Daniels Kawai Danner Gabriel Dawson Laura Dyer Tracey Eason Rochelle Ettawageshik Manfred Failla William Feather Natowa Garcia Carol Gooday-Mithlo Lisa Greif Roberta Hanchor Monah Hanson John Hawkins Daniel Hossler Lisa Jackson Parris Jedlicka

Kim Jenkins Lou Johnson Felicia Jojola Rachael Kangas Michael LaFontaine Cherie LeBlanc-Dyba Allie G. Maldonado Jason L. Malemute Amanda McAdoo Sarah McConnell Angela McGee Elliott Moon Linda Morceau Willie Nelson Penny Norseworthy Clayton Ogden Julia Orellana Lisa Otipoby Laura Parkhurst Yashicia Patterson Vanessa Pauley Cassandra Pena Phillip Powers Lynn J. Reer Georgia Roberts Lydia Rouillard Fridonna Shepard-Steele Adoree Shuaib Nanette C. Silveroli Jessica Swisher Wendy Thomas Betty Lynn Tootoosis Meghan Topkok Charles Tripp Jessica S. Ullrich Derek Valdo

National Indian Child Welfare Association | NICWA News

Kehl Van Winkle Joseph L. Webster Ruth Weller Mary Wilson Turquoise Adirian Albillar Cheryl Baldomaro Lucas Carole Butzke Luis Castillo Shannon CrossBear Sylvia Deporto Kathleen C. Faller Jo-Ann Giordano Jana L. Heyd Lamhi Hutallay Gerald Koch Robert Lindecamp Art Martinez Linda Resoff Dottie M. Rundles Tamera C. Shanker Tawny Smith-Savage Kip Toner Dorothy Wait

Chickasaw Nation Coquille Indian Tribe Kaw Nation Makah Nation Muscogee (Creek) Nation Ponca Tribe of Nebraska Pueblo of Santa Ana Skokomish Indian Tribe Sage Catawba Indian Nation Comanche Nation of Oklahoma Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians Pueblo of Santo Domingo Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe

Organizations Cedar Arizona State University School of Social Work Four Feathers Counseling



Marry Knutsen Leah Lopez Leola McKenzie Robert Prue Kristin Thaler

Association of Village Council Presidents

Winter 2020 | 11



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

National American Indian Conference National American Indian Conference American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and onNeglect Child Abuse and Neglect Abuse and Neglect

March 29—AprilMarch 1, 202029—April 1, 2020 March 29—April 1, Denver, ColoradoDenver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado • March 29–April 1, 2020

RegisteR by the eaRly-biRd deadline FebRuaRy 28, 2020

March 29—April 1, 2020 Denver, Colorado

To register and for more information visit: www.nicwa.org/conference

National American Indian Conference on Child Abuse and Neglect

Profile for National Indian Child Welfare Association

NICWA News | Winter 2020  

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

NICWA News | Winter 2020  

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