This “Practice Brief” from the Native Child Advocacy Resource Center explains how Child Advocacy Center service delivery for Tribal children and families can be improved by building relationships with indigenous communities.
Virtually all Indigenous people in what is now the United States experienced massive collective historical traumas (war, genocide, land theft, forced relocation) by the federal government and European Americans generally. More recent collective traumas include decades-long policies of forced assimilation of Tribal children, such as the systematic removal of Tribal children to boarding schools where traditional cultural and spiritual practices were forbidden and where abuse was widespread, as well as the routine use of child protection mechanisms to remove Tribal children from their families to be raised in non-Tribal homes. These policies and practices destroyed families and communities. Although countering such barriers to trust from Tribal communities is not an easy task, some general features of cooperative strategies are suggested in this guide. They include 1) the recruitment of CAC staff from the community being served; 2) embedding of local tribal cultural components and perspectives in CAC operations and procedures; 3) maximizing of in-person interactions in CAC activities; and 4) regularly measure features of Tribal communal values in CAC activities and policies.