2021 Impact Report - Two Feathers NAFS

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Impact Report

Two Feathers Service Philosophy All Two Feathers programming is guided by our agency philosophy that Relationships Matter. We believe that by deeply engaging with the youth and families we serve, increasing access, and creatively integrating cultural practice into treatment and prevention services, we are building meaningful relationships that will lead to thriving within our community. We are also committed to reimagining what health and wellness can look like through both contemporary and traditional lenses, and we do so by learning from our future ancestors, Our Youth. As Two Feathers learns and grows, we actively seek out the voices and leadership of Native Youth as the stewards of our future. As an innovative, tribally chartered community mental health agency, Two Feathers is driven to provide free, high-quality programming to all Native families, regardless of tribal affiliation, in Humboldt County.

Our Mission Two Feathers’ mission is to inspire healthy and balanced Native American communities in Humboldt County. To achieve our goal, we work with Native American children and families in a good way, which includes using culturally based interventions that promote holistic health and developing respectful collaborations with both Native and Non-Native agencies.

Our Values Build a family spirit Achieving holistic wellness


Teamwork Mindsets in a good way

To promote thriving among Native American children and families living in the ancestral lands of Northwest California.

Accepting accountability Needs of the community are the priority 3

Dear Friends and Community, Thank you for your continued support of Two Feathers through another year! 2021 has been filled with its challenges and successes, and I would like to give gratitude to our Two Feathers team and Native youth and families who remind us of what health and wellness means in Indian Country. We began the initial phase of developing our new strategic plan that will put our community and their voices at the center of everything that we do. We reached over 300 young people through our school and community-based programming in the Hoopa Valley, Orleans, and Downriver regions, as well as on the Humboldt coastline reaching from Big Lagoon to Rio Dell. In collaboration with Stanford Center for Youth Mental Health & Wellbeing, we held our Third Annual Native Youth School and Community Mental Health Conference, with over 800 registrants. We saw that young people were deeply engaged in our youth employment programming, which we expanded from one cohort of six to four cohorts and 23 youth employed. We launched the Rainbow Collaborative, the first LGBTQ+ group of its kind, meeting weekly in the Hoopa Valley. Our youth advocated to the California Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission for funding for a Native Youth Drop-in Center in Humboldt County. Two Feathers and many of you supported my niece Sasha Neyra in her Flower Dance, the first Big Lagoon Flower Dance in the last 150 years. Our 5-year community defined, culturally specific ACORN Youth Mental Health project is in its last year of funding. Over the span of the project, we served over 150 local Native youth instilling hope, strengthening cultural identity, and a sense of belonging among participants. Excitingly, the project will continue for four more years. I cannot thank you enough for your support. Your participation, advocacy and leadership in our community always inspire me to ensure Two Feathers provides high quality, innovative programming that is free and accessible to everyone in our Native Community. Next year, we look forward to safely increasing our in-person programming and youthdriven cultural and prosocial events. While we were able to gather more in 2021, we’d love to see even more of you all in 2022! All my best, Dr. Virgil Moorehead, Jr Executive Director


Who We Are Two Feathers Native American Family Services (NAFS) is a Tribal non-profit that provides Native American mental health and wellness programming for children and families in Humboldt County. We partner with schools, families, and the wider community to serve the needs of Native American children and families, utilizing the unique assets, strengths and innate wisdom of local Native American youth and their families. Chartered under the Big Lagoon Rancheria, Two Feathers NAFS has 25 paid staff including mental health clinicians, substance abuse counselors, family and youth advocates, cultural coordinators, administrators, and project managers and serves 300 youth across every quarter of Humboldt County locations.


Core Programs

HEALING STRATEGIES Our healing program strategies are based both in Western science and Native-centered belief systems and norms. We use flexible and meaningful outreach and connection strategies that prioritize, and are rooted in, relationship, with a focus on one-on-one counseling. We worked closely with Klamath Trinity Joint Unified School District, Northern Humboldt Union High School District and K-8 partner districts to provide screening, early intervention, treatment, recovery support, telemedicine psychiatric services and postvention services to primarily American Indian youth ages 10-18 and their families.

SUCCESS STORY We worked with a teenaged Native and femaleidentifying youth who had been living with several different family members as the child of a single parent struggling with substance abuse. When we received the referral, she had received multiple involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations both in and out of the area and was experiencing regular panic attacks and engaging in self-harm. The family agreed to let our team support the youth. Upon assessment of the case, we planned for the family to be called the next time the youth was in crisis, prior to contacting law enforcement. As planned, the next time the youth experienced a crisis, our team was contacted. The responding staff member utilized crisis de-escalation strategies to assist her in returning to baseline. A safety assessment was completed, and the team was able to create a safety plan that felt supportive to her. Eventually, the frequency of these episodes began to diminish. This youth had only one more hospitalization and within a year the episodes were non-existent. She has been staying in school most days, has a strong relationship with her counselor, and began to engage in prosocial activities and events where she made several strong friendships.





Native youth engage in counseling each month with many engaging weekly

of counseling happens in schools

of non-school based counseling takes place at the beach or in homes/other locales

of referrals in the previous 3 months was for clients seeking counseling


youth/families active in counseling services right now


Prevention Strategies Our prevention strategies are aimed at the promotion of healthy behaviors and prevention of substance use and other risky behaviors among Humboldt County Native youth. Prevention-related activities include: • Culturally based programs (Acknowledging, Connecting Language and Culture, Opportunity and Access, Relationships with Others, Nurturing Nature and Spirit) • Youth mentorship, groups, activities and events • Youth leadership development • Community and professional training

HO-LEE-MOH (We Weave) women’s weaving circle) (artwork by Skyloh Lara)

“No matter how hard life may seem sometimes, Creator only pushes us so far. It’s up to us to find that balance.”

“Number one thing I want in life is to break the cycle of addiction in my family.”

—Two Feathers NAFS Youth Mentee and TAY ADVOCATE

—Youth quote, street interview


Youth Development We sought to develop 30 youth leaders aged 12-26 that understand the root causes of AI youth substance use; are skilled in culturally and traditionally evidence-based interventions; and can advocate for culturally responsive policies that support AI youth well-being in Humboldt County.


New referrals


Participated in individual counseling

“I just wanted to let you know that your work pod at Captain John is really good. Our students that are involved in the work pod squad have increased attendance, engagement, and belonging. Students in the pod value their work time and are learning important skills such as responsibility, trust, and communication. I really like that student are giving back to the community in various ways through the work they do in the pod squad. The students have really bought in to the program. Thank you for the opportunity.” —School principal 8


Connected to our mentorship program

YOUTH MENTORSHIP PROGRAM The Youth Mentorship Program included weekly mentorship activities led by local tribal college aged mentors using the Make It Stronger traditional youth wellness program curriculum. Make it Stronger: ACORN Program is a local, tribally defined wellness curriculum created through a yearlong development process with a community advisory board of local tribal leaders. The purpose of Make it Stronger is to provide AI youth with life skills development and interpersonal social emotional skills to thrive. The program incorporates physical and psycho/social interventions including values and traditions based on local stick game and flower dance teachings.



Engaged in cultural events

YOUTH AMBASSADOR/EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM Youth Ambassadors are local Indigenous change makers, leaders, and social justice advocates who can support, organize, and motivate change on a local, regional, and national level. They are provided with the opportunity to raise awareness on issues important to Indigenous peoples, for example, the environment, social justice, culture, mental health and wellness. The leadership development program empowers youth to build interpersonal as well as community organizing skillsets, and duties include: the youth advisory committee participation, peer-to-peer mentorship, facilitating youth-driven discussion on suicide, substance use, and community needs as well as hands-on leadership and participation in our groups and events.


Youth ambassadors in 2021

“These boys don’t have anybody teaching them how to work, what work ethic is, how to show up every day. If nobody shows up for them, they won’t come. I appreciate that we can do that, and I just want to keep doing what we’re doing and providing these good opportunities for the community” —Youth quote, street interview 10

Youth Spotlight

Irene Powell is a 16-year-old member of the Hoopa Valley Tribe in Northern California. Irene read her poem, “I am Strong, I am Indigenous” for a collaboration event with Dell’Arte International. When not writing poetry, Irene enjoys hanging out with friends and family, beekeeping, playing games with her twin nephews, and spending time outside.

Ki-Shan Daniels is 14 years old and a freshman at McKinleyville High School. Ki-Shan has faced many difficulties in life, but has persevered academically, and as a culturally connected Tribal community member. Ki-Shan is active in Two Feathers cultural and youth mentorship programs. She enjoys learning about her heritage and sharing it with others.

Noah Bench is a junior at McKinleyville High School and an original member of the Youth Employment Program. As part of the Youth Employment Work program, Noah participated in community service projects, some of which benefited local elders. He also recently earned his driver’s license and purchased a vehicle with money he earned. Noah is a member of the McKinleyville High School wrestling team and has better than a 3.0 GPA.


Youth Advocacy Two Feathers Youth Advocates, Transitional Age Youth Action Team use Town Halls to advocate for safe places and mental health support for Native American youth in Humboldt County.

Meet the Advocates Emma Sundberg TAY Action Team Youth Advocate Emma Sundberg is a 16 years old. She is a member of the Wiyot Tribe and lives in Mckinleyville California. Emma is a hip hop dancer and loves to figure skate. She wants to be an archaeologist later on in life and pave the way for a new world of knowledge.

Kiara Weatherford TAY Action Team Youth Advocate Aiy-ye-Kwee my name is Kiara Weatherford I am 18 years old and am enrolled Yurok through Trinidad rancheria. I have done a fair amount of advocacy. It’s something worth doing that I am passionate about. Standing up for my community will always have a special place in my heart. I wish to someday have a full time career doing what I love to do.

Jordan Brown TAY Action Team Youth Advocate Hi my name is Jordan Brown. I am an enrolled Karuk Tribal member. I live in Mckinleyville CA and my family orignates from the village of Katimiin. I love playing basketball, being involved in cutural activities, and hanging with my family. My goal in life is to play basketball professionally and give back to the community.


Emma TAY Action Team Youth Advocate Emma is 18 years old and a senior at Hoopa Valley High School. She is the daughter of Shawnna Conrad and Slate Boykin. She is the granddaughter of Florence Conrad and Willis Conrad. She was raised in Somes Bar, California and still lives there today. She is a member of the Karuk Tribe and has been the chairwoman of the Karuk Youth Leadership Council for three years. Emma’s goal is to attend a four year university this coming fall. She has applied and been accepted into multiple universities but still has to decide where to attend.

Trinity Colegrove TAY Action Team Youth Advocate He:yung, my name is Trinity Colegrove. I’m 16 years old and attend Hoopa Valley High School. I’m Hupa, Yurok, and Karuk. I like to draw, skate, gather, read, and run long distances.

Jason Marshall, Jr. TAY Action Team Youth Advocate Jason Marshall, Jr., 16 years old, a Karuk Tribal member, Hoopa, Yurok and Shasta descendant. Passions are working hard to play in the NFL or become a firefighter like his dad. He enjoys playing with his dogs, wrestling, camping, fishing, hunting, playing sticks, riding his bike with cousins and friends, and he enjoys any time spent together with his family.

Mettah Kuska TAY Action Team Youth Advocate Mettah Kuska is a Yurok Tribal member and a Karuk and Tolowa descendent. He is a Two Feathers youth and a 16 year old sophomore at at Mckinleyville High School. While he enjoys many sports, football is his passion. He works hard to be a scholar and an athlete and has his sights set on playing college football. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors to be an advocate and change maker for his Native peoples. 13

Groups, Activities and Events A large part of our work involves non-clinical, holistic groups, activities and events facilitated by Two Feathers staff. They vary between cultural, outdoors, and skills teaching.

CRISIS WALK EVENT Our C-HFT program facilitated an event that was intended to increase awareness of our crisis warm line available to youth and families as well as the crisis support available at Two Feathers. Our eighty attendees participated in a walk organized by the team in which youth and families completed a loop and were able to stop by stations that provided information about Two Feather’s crisis services and suicide prevention. The participants were given materials and tickets at each station and the event was concluded with a picnic lunch and a raffle.


RAINBOW SUPPORT GROUP We helped facilitate the first ever LGBTQ+ support group in Hoopa Valley and on the reservation, leading to greater youth support at the high school and in the community.

ORLEANS SUMMER GROUP We provided an 8-day program for school age kids in Orleans, prompting the local school district to provide summer school. For the first time, we bought accessible mental and behavioral health expertise and programming to remote Orleans.



Community and Professional Training 3RD ANNUAL NATIVE YOUTH SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY WELLNESS CONFERENCE In November 2021, we hosted the third annual Native Youth School and Community Wellness Conference. The Conference brings together leaders, educators, mental health practitioners, researchers, Native American youth, and other stakeholders in fields related to Native American mental health to share up-to-date research and best practices on youth mental health & wellness.

SCHOOL-BASED TRAINING We delivered evidence-based training curriculums to teachers and staff to identify youth at risk for suicide, and suicide early intervention and prevention strategies. Trainings include: • Mental health first aid for teachers: 116 school district staff trained since 2019 • Suicide prevention training for teachers

“Most of my clients are in schools that I’ve attended, or my kids are [attending], and I’ve taught at. They are me and I am them, so that’s that. Our kids and families, this is my people, this is my home, so they bring me [me to work] every day.” —Two Feathers Staff Member 17

STAFF CLINICAL MENTAL HEALTH TRAININGS Twelve staff therapists underwent comprehensive trainings in culturally sensitive trauma-informed substance abuse prevention and treatment, and suicide prevention.

“[My client] told me, back in March ‘if I didn’t get connected with you back in October, I probably wouldn’t be alive right now.’ That hit me so deeply. I’m hoping I can make a difference in someone’s life. One of the hardest things for [my client] was not having someone to talk to.” —Two Feathers Staff Member


Our Partners and Collaborators We work with a variety of national organizations, foundations, schools, and governmental agencies. We serve all Native American youth and families in Humboldt County.




Our Partners and Collaborators FOUNDATIONS



Financials Our work would not be possible without the support of our generous and collaborative individual, grant, and foundation support. 0%



Individual Donations










Agency Indirect




1560 Betty Court, Suite A McKinleyville, CA 95519 Office (707) 839-1933 Fax (707) 839-1726 twofeathers-nafs.org

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