The Healing of the Canoe Project is a collaborative project between the Suquamish Tribe, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute, University of Washington. Suquamish and Port Gamble S’Klallam both identified the prevention of youth substance abuse and the need for a sense of cultural belonging and cultural revitalization among youth as primary issues of community concern. The Healing of the Canoe partnership has sought to address these issues through a community based, culturally grounded prevention and intervention life skills curriculum for tribal youth that builds on the strengths and resources in the community. The Culturally Grounded Life Skills for Youth Curriculum uses the Canoe Journey as a metaphor, providing youth the skills needed to navigate their journey through life without being pulled off course by alcohol or drugs – with tribal culture, tradition and values as compass to guide them, and anchor to ground them. For more background and information about the project, please visit our about and history pages, or watch our short videos. You can also read about the Healing of the Canoe project curriculum in this article published in Yes! Magazine.
The Culturally Grounded Life Skills for Youth Curriculum, along with accompanying training materials, is now available for download from the Healthy Native Youth website.
In February 2017, we completed the final phase of what turned out to be a 12 year project. During the final four years of the project, the Healing of the Canoe team focused on dissemination of the life skills curriculum to other communities who want to promote a sense of cultural belonging and prevent substance abuse among Native American tribal youth. We are excited to report that to date we have trained a total of 291 attendees from 42 Tribes and 12 tribal organizations in how to adapt and implement the curriculum (view full list of tribes and organizations trained). We have also updated the curriculum with two new chapters focused on suicide prevention and intervention. This was accomplished in collaboration with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board. For more information about this final stage of the project, please visit our Phase III page.