Culture is more than the typical concept conveys. Instead of being a 'tool' for intervention or an explanation of either pathology or resilience, culture is the host to all perspective, interpretation, and concepts of wellness and health and life. My nineteen years working in rural and remote Alaska with the different peoples and cultures, were preceded by two years of Urban American Indian work in Salt Lake City. I was the clinical director for a multiple tribal adult recovery residential house. Building on this was my five years in Nome Alaska and the thirteen years commuting and working with different villages and communities around well-being and health. I also had the privilege to work with Robert Wood Johnson Foundation with the "Healthy Nations" project eventually becoming the qualitative evaluator for all 14 sites across the US. I worked for six years with the different American Indian Tribes and Native Alaska grantees as a program manager and then as the evaluator. What an experience in understanding the role and strength of culture. Fighting substance abuse and its consequences together from within the tribal structure and using culture-based interventions and 'cures' expanded my understanding of help and counseling. Health is more than ridding yourself of any diagnosis. Inclusion, meaning, and connection to life, the world, and their spirit taught me more about psychology than all the multicultural books i consumed.
Since that time I have presented to various tribal groups in Nebraska and Wisconsin. Worked with the IHS Information Technology team and partnered with Sinasauk Corporation to help promote culturally relevant and evidence based practices for substance abuse, suicide, and mental health issues.
I am comfortable and competent in listening and adjusting good science with local wisdom. Degrees and education are less important than understanding and relationship. I treasure my friends and experiences from these other cultures. I have grown and wish to give back.....it take all perspectives and views to point out the path to well-being.