I’m in foster care and I’m a Native, but I want to tap into my Native side and was wondering how would I be able to do so?

Thank you for writing this question in.  I would encourage you to begin by looking inward. What does being native look like to you? When you say “tap into my native side” what does that mean, and what do you imagine when you say that?

I believe these questions are important as you begin to engage resources available to you. Knowing why and what things are in place to protect your cultural knowledge is important as well.

ICWA (Indian Child Welfare Act) exists to protect the best interest of Indian Children and to promote the stability and security of Indian tribes and families by the establishment of minimum Federal standards for the removal of Indian children and placement of such children in homes which will reflect the unique values of Indian culture…

NICWA (National Indian Child Welfare Association) was created for the following stated principles

  • To promote safe, healthy, and culturally strong environments for Native children.
  • To promote the spiritual strength of Native children and a positive cultural identity.
  • To be a strong voice for the needs of Native children and American Indian/Alaska Native child welfare programs nationwide.
  • To advocate for and facilitate the proper implementation of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
  • To promote the provision of effective services to Native children by child welfare workers.

You also have a caseworker who should be able to connect you to invaluable resources and help facilitate some of your cultural connections.

Back to you questions at hand. I would start with your family, do they have cultural knowledge? Are they willing to share? Can they help connect you to resources or people who do?

Are you close to your tribe, or a tribe? Finding tribal support to connect yourself to would also be a great start. A lot of people’s growth come from Tribes, and their family. Immersing yourself around key tribal keepers and your culture keeps could help your own spiritual growth.

It might be scary, even daunting to try and reach out about your culture. You are your own strongest advocate. Make sure your voice is heard and you are getting the services that are available. These organizations and tools exist to help ensure your connection to your culture.

Best wishes,

Uncle Paige

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