Mental Health Promotion, Youth Development
The White Mountain Apache Elders' Resilience Curriculum (ERC) is called “Nohwi nalze’ dayúwéh bee goldoh doleeł” which means approximately “Let our Apache Heritage and Culture Live on Forever and Teach the Young Ones.” White Mountain Apache Elders developed this program with support from the Center to teach youth about the Apache culture and language. It has a strong focus on respect and introduces youth to the knowledge, stories, and songs of their Apache Elders. It is delivered by the Elders to youth in schools on the White Mountain Apache reservation. All lesson content comes from the knowledge and input of the Elders and is reviewed and revised as needed at regular Elders’ Council meetings. The ERC comprises 12 lessons centered around the months of the year. Each lesson is approximately one hour long and is delivered in a classroom to elementary and middle school aged youth.
Building on this work, we have received a National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant to learn more about the ERC and help describe what essential elements make the program successful so that other Indigenous communities can adapt these key ingredients of the program to develop their own similar programs with relevant cultural values, lessons, and teachings. Through community-based, mixed-methods research, we will learn about the program’s core components and outcomes to develop an ERC conceptual model. The next phases of this project include co-developing a culturally adapted assessment battery, and to pilot an evaluation to test the conceptual model and culturally adapted measures. Ultimately, this work will support the scaling and implementation of similar Elder-youth programs in other tribal nations and communities.