Indigenous-designed mental health program targeting homeless American Indians and Alaska Natives


Grantee: Chief Seattle Club
Timeframe: July 2020 – June 2023 | Total Amount: $500,000

Year 1: July 2020 – June 2021. Amount: $200,000
Year 2: July 2021 – June 2022. Amount: $100,000
Year 3: July 2022 – June 2023. Amount: $200,000


In December 2018, Cowlitz Tribal Health Seattle (CTHS) began providing on-site mental health services at the Club once a week. Funded by this grant, the CTHS Clinical Lead Therapist will expand his hours at the Club from 5 hours to 40 hours per week, integrating traditional wellness and work with contracted Traditional Healers.  In addition to 1:1 counseling, project components may include the below elements:

TALKING CIRCLES are a traditional form of education that provides a way to pass on and share knowledge, values, and culture. This method of traditional education instills respect for another’s viewpoint and encourages tribal members to be open to other viewpoints by listening with their heart while another individual speaks. Talking circles are a mixture of support group, skills training, and psychosocial education, with elements of cultural ceremony. It has become widely accepted within AI/AN communities for self-expression, conflict resolution, and community building.

HEALING OF THE CANOE GROUPS. The Healing of the Canoe was developed to work with youth, and has been adapted to work with adults. The curriculum uses the Canoe Journey as a metaphor, providing skills needed to navigate their journey through life without being pulled off course by alcohol or drugs; incorporating tribal culture, tradition and values as compass to guide them, and anchor to ground them; including historical trauma, healthy relationships, drug and alcohol education, building self-esteem, and creating a positive cultural and self-identity.

RED ROAD TO WELLBRIETY is a healing model developed by Gene Thin Elk as a substance abuse program that has helped thousands of AI/ANs attain sobriety. The model is a holistic approach combining indigenous and mainstream approaches to wellness and healing. The Club currently provides Red Road to Wellbriety groups twice a week facilitated by their Traditional Healer.

TRADITIONAL CEREMONIES. Traditional Healers hold a very important place within indigenous communities. Healing methodology and knowledge varies from tribe to tribe, but all communities understand, support, and respect the role of the healer. Traditional healing can include individual and group counseling; talking circles; seasonal ceremonies; sweat lodges; storytelling; pow-wows; roundhouse ceremonies; drumming; smudging and using different medicines to pray with including sage, sweet grass, tobacco; and educational and cultural activities led by Traditional Healers.


About Our Grantee

Chief Seattle Club

Chief Seattle Club is a Day Center for homeless/low-income American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN). Every day, members come to the Club for basic needs such as hot meals, showers and laundry services. The Club gains their trust and acts as a gateway to human services and traditional wellness through on-site government, tribal and non-profit partners.

Major Grant

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