Information on IECMHC & Tribal Nations

Information on IECMHC & Tribal Nations

This web page was created to support programs, local governments and Tribal Nations in creating better services and systems for their infants, toddler and young children and their families through an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation program. The following listing and sections are to be used as a supporting reference for the journey to building relationships with tribal communities/programs, or for tribal communities to build their own IECMHC systems.

In 2016, the National Indian Health Board, Indian Health Services and SAMHSA issued a joint statement recognizing that tribes have differences and commonalities in their traditional mental health healing practices. The document also states that these healing practices include all of nature and the universe and that these ways are sacred and will be protected by our peoples.

The CoE for IECMHC acknowledges that tribal communities have health and mental health practices that go back for thousands of years and they incorporate the connection to all of nature and the universe. Recognizing that “non-dominant ways of knowing” serve as sources of strength and avenues to healing (Tenet #4, Diversity Informed Infant Mental Health Tenets), the CoE acknowledges that the western-centric form of Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation only scratches the surface of what has been practiced for thousands of years within tribal communities, before European contact, to address the holistic health/mental health of their young children, families and communities.

The CoE recognizes the harmful impact of   hundreds of years of stripping of traditional protective factors through genocide, forced assimilation, forced removal of children to residential boarding schools and cultural genocide of tribal communities and references this history in the CoE for IECMHC Equity Webinar: Culture, Identity, and History as Sources of Strength and Resilience for Tribal Communities. As a part of equity, it is also important to remember the thousands of children who suffered traumatic events and lost their lives at the residential boarding schools. As a country, we cannot move forward in focusing on improving mental health services and supports for young children and families without acknowledging and remembering these children. For healing to start, the pain and concern must first be acknowledged.

It is the CoE’s hope that Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation can be one of many tools tribal communities can incorporate with their traditional practices to meet community needs to support holistic mental health approaches for young children and their families. The information provided in this section can be used to support tribal communities’ programs that support young children and families.

Land acknowledgment is a traditional custom that dates back centuries in many Native nations and communities. Today, land acknowledgments are used by Native Peoples and non-Natives to recognize Indigenous Peoples who are the original stewards of the lands on which we now live.

For non-Indigenous communities, land acknowledgment is a powerful way of showing respect and honoring the Indigenous Peoples of the land on which we work and live. Acknowledgment is a simple way of resisting the erasure of Indigenous histories and working towards honoring and inviting the truth.

Information on land acknowledgements for Indigenous lands, teaching about land acknowledgments, and considerations for writing land acknowledgement statements can be found on this website.

Indigenous Map locator by zip code

Health services was initially set up by the military under the Department. of War in 1789. Originally it was not health services, but an attempt to address the ‘Indian Problem’ through extermination. This was done by handing out ‘small pox’ infected blankets to Indians, and then later the health precaution provided was to quarantine individuals on Indian reservation lands to keep infection from spreading to the white, settler population. Indian health services moved to the Department of Interior – Bureau of Indian Affairs in 1849, and then later Indian Health Services was established under the United States Public Health System in 1951.

The initial goal and purpose of Indian education policy, started in 1879 with the founding of Carlisle Indian School by the federal government, was to forcefully assimilate Indians into western society by taking them from their families and placing them in military-run boarding schools far from their homelands. Many treaties had template language that stated tribal members would send their children to school. The end of forceful boarding school attendance occurred in the 1950s/1960s depending on location.

United States Department of Education

The information in this section is important for non-tribal programs/governments to learn about when reaching out to or when partnering with tribes.

Collection of data to conduct research and evaluation within Tribal Communities needs to be respectfully addressed and planned for in the earliest stages of discussions for any project/program development. Too often, Tribal Community data are not accounted for within data sets and are not disaggregated and/or are not counted due to low number suppression. The absence of data planning in the early stages of program design/development further perpetuates the invisibility/non-existence that many Tribal Communities have dealt with and currently deal with. This can affect federal, state, county, philanthropic and nonprofit planning and funding opportunities for Tribal Communities, which in turn affects resources, quality, and access to health, mental health, and educational services through the lifespan, particularly for infants, toddlers, young children and their families.

This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.