Solution Overview & Team Lead Details

Our Organization

kwu cnxi nonprofit

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What is the name of your solution?

Intergenerational Healing – Resilience through Culture

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Provide a one-line summary of your solution.

looks to our First Language Speakers and Cultural Knowledge Keepers to guide us in recreating indigenous education through curriculum development.

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Film your elevator pitch.

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What specific problem are you solving?

Indigenous youth experience PTSD at the same rate as combat veterans returning from Iraq & Afghanistan (Dorgan et al, 2014).  Suicide is the second leading cause of death for indigenous youth, alcohol related death for Indigenous youth is 17x the national average and their arrest rate is 3xs the national average (Fast Facts. n.d.)  Indigenous youth have the lowest educational outcomes of all other races in the United States (National Center for Education Statistics and Washington State Report Card).

Studies show that mental health issues are linked to poor educational outcomes and mental health is a predictor of educational achievement (Murphy et. al, 2014)  Educational outcomes are only a symptom of a larger mental health crisis that has been ongoing for indigenous youth since the boarding school era.  In addition, trauma accumulates epigenetically across generations (Brockie et al., 2013).  In one study in Canada, First Nations people who had previous generations of family attend residential school increased the risk for lifetime suicide ideation (Wilk et al., 2017).  The Meriam Report from the 1930s (which called Indian Education grossly inadequate), the Kennedy Report from the 1960s (which called Indian Education a National Tragedy), and current educational data has been consistent across time that native students are struggling the most.  We are connecting the dots in that mental health creates a barrier to education, education creates a barrier to socioeconomic success, and low socioeconomic success creates a barrier to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Not only are indigenous children and communities being failed, “There is clear evidence that cultural values and experiences shape neurocognitive processes and influence patterns of neural activation and may even effect neural structures. The study of the “cultural brain” is a critically important topic that demonstrates how fundamental cultural values and practices are at influencing thought.” (Park and Huang, 2019). This means that western education systems are physically wiring our children's brains to operate in a Eurocentric way while our languages and cultures die as a result of colonization.

Huge inequities still exist around education for Native American students.  In Washington State, according to the Washington Report Card, Native American students have the lowest school completion rates, highest discipline rates, and second lowest percentages meeting standards next to Pacific Islander students, who are also indigenous. 

Indigenous language(s) and culture(s) are proven, in various studies, to improve mental health and wellbeing and even labeled as a "protective factor".  According to the national Center for Disease Control,  "For American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and communities, cultural and traditional teachings and practices are important protective factors that provide their people with strength and resilience to lead healthful lives." (Andrade et. al, 2019).  We believe that the answer lies within language and authentic cultural revitalization.  To date, the government has spent more money on eradicating Native American languages and cultures than revitalization or preservation efforts.  


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What is your solution?

The goal of the kʷu yaʕyaʕt kʷu cnxiʔ: All of Us Coming Together Project (kʷu cnxiʔ) is to return to our cultural protocols in seeking the wisdom of our Elders. The kʷu cnxiʔ Project will contribute to growing nqilxʷcn speakers and revitalization efforts by funding the development of a First Language Speaker Committee to guide the direction of this work. 

We also aim to be a central point of gravity to create a network and knowledge transfer infrastructure to coordinate efforts.  In essence, this would be comparable to how educational service districts operate to support schools and teachers.  Except our work would be grounded from a culture first perspective, and service schools, programs, and community.

The kʷu cnxiʔ project includes the development of an initial, comprehensive curriculum that will serve as a model for partnering nqilxʷcn revitalization programs. Creating the committee will bring the wisdom of the Elders into the curriculum development process. The curriculum provides a tool by which to apply the wisdom and language skills of the Elders to teaching a new generation of language speakers. Additionally, the kʷu cnxiʔ curriculum will serve as a model and provide resources for all Southern Interior Salish speaking communities. This will streamline efforts and preserve the energy of our L1 Elder Speakers by coordinating, centralizing, and creating a conduit for their teachings. 


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Strong preference will be given to Native-led solutions that directly benefit and are located within the Indigenous communities. Which community(s) does your solution benefit? In what ways will your solution benefit this community?

Our nonprofit has existing relationships with a variety of programs and organizations that will benefit from this work.  Our partners and friends are Spokane School District, NorthEast Washington Educational Service District (ESD 101), Rural Resources Victim Services - Tribal Program, Paschal Sherman Indian School, Colville Tribe Head Start, Waterfall Immersion School, Outma Sqilxw Language and Culture School, Waterfall Immersion School, Osoyoos Indian Band Language House, Okanagan Indian Band Language Nest, and Coulee Medical Center.  These programs are located across the ancestral territory of the Okanagan and Arrow Lakes peoples.  Our partners (aka beneficiaries) are located on the Colville Reservation, Spokane Washington, NorthEastern Washington, Penticton British Columbia, Osoyoos British Columbia, Westbank British Columbia, and Vernon British Columbia.  Our nonprofit is also dedicated to being a beacon and creating a roadmap for other Native American communities interested in creating similar pathways in their own communities.  Part of our work will include sharing our stories, offering training, and participating in various conferences and convenings to inspire and educate others. 

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How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?

The Executive Director, Cree Whelshula, has been involved with various language revitalization and Native education programs throughout the region via consulting, advocacy work, large language gatherings, and hosting language events.  Throughout these interactions, many programs throughout the region have reached out to Cree for consulting or keynote speaking.  These interactions have led to conversations around the need for a coordinated effort for curriculum and also utilizing our Elders in a way that maximizes their efforts.  These conversations and collaborations with various programs was the catalyst to launch the kʷu cnxiʔ nonprofit.  This way, each community is not each recreating the wheel and Elders do not have to keep repeating themselves to each new group or program.  Each program and community has their own language needs assessments and data and as part of our partnership they share their information with us to inform our efforts as well.      

One of the discussions we have been having is a need for culture to be the modality of education.  To date, many of our language revitalization efforts have been a lot of coding English into Okanagan Salish and the materials are often Eurocentric.  All of our partner programs are in agreement that our culture is a basic need for our children and we need to make a paradigm shift in Native education.  To do this, we need the guidance of our Elders while we still have them.   

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Where our solution team is headquartered or located:

Spokane, WA, USA
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Our solution's stage of development:

Concept
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Why are you applying to Solve?

Our team has passion, drive, and connection to community, but we are a brand new nonprofit.  The work we are doing is so important, so it would be nice to have the support and technical to make efficient and informed strategy and decisions without wasting time climbing the learning curve.  

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In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?

  • Business model (e.g. product-market fit, strategy & development)
  • Financial (e.g. improving accounting practices, pitching to investors)
  • Legal or Regulatory Matters
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Who is the Team Lead for your solution?

Cree Whelshula

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Please indicate the tribal affiliation of your Team Lead.

Coeur d'Alene / Colville

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Is the Team Lead a resident of the United States?

Yes

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Which dimension of the Challenge does your solution most closely address?

Promote holistic and culturally informed mental or physical health programming for Native youth, elders, or families including but not limited to foster youth, veterans, and families with members who are disabled.

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More About Your Solution

What makes your solution innovative?

The nsəlxcin (southern dialect) and nsyilxcn (northern dialect) speaking people include the Arrow Lakes, San Poil, Nespelem, Methow, Okanagan, and Colville people.  The traditional territories span across both the United States and Canada in Central and Eastern Washington and British Columbia.  In the United States, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation includes four voting districts: Inchelium Washington, Nespelem Washington, Omak Washington, and Keller Washington.  In Canada, the Okanagan people have 7 bands and they are united by the Okanagan Nation Alliance.  The Okanagan Nation Alliance (ONA) was formed in 1981 as the inaugural First Nations government in the Okanagan which represents the 8 member communities including; Okanagan Indian Band, Upper Nicola Band, Westbank First Nation, Penticton Indian Band, Osoyoos Indian Band and Lower and Upper Similkameen Indian Bands and the Colville Confederated Tribes on areas of common concern.  Each community is represented through the Chiefs Executive Council (CEC) by their Chief or Chairman.  

Each community also has some of their own language materials, but it is often fragmented and not available for everyone to utilize. There are a lot of efforts around language preservation and revitalization, but we do not know if programs are being effective and there is no evidence of working across purposes. Geographically and programmatically, we are all scattered across a large land base.      

Our solution unites the efforts, resources, and direction of a very large land base.  We will be meeting virtually with our First Language Speakers once monthly and at least twice per year in person.  Before, our Elders being so far apart and unable to consistently meet has been a challenge.  Since covid, our Elders have become accustomed to virtual meetings so we can meet more frequently to document their knowledge.  

What really distinguishes our work is our culture-first approach with explicit explanations of mental health and educational opportunities. 

The curricula, materials, and resources developed will be available for many sectors of community.  Indigenous pedagogy acknowledges that we cannot compartmentalize our mental health, education, wellness, and quality of life and that it is all interconnected.  Different programs will find various sections of the curricula useful for their programs and will be able to be utilized by various types of programs and organizations from education, medical, language, social, and more.

Utilizing the wisdom of our First Language Speakers and Cultural Knowledge Keepers, we will develop curriculums, resources, learning materials, and guidance documents.  The curriculum will be heavily focused on land based education and seasonal cycles. 

Example of materials development:  A unit on trees.  This unit will have information such as: Legends that describe the traditional ecological knowledge of trees (There is a story that trees had a race up a mountain and some trees fell or had accidents at certain elevations and that explains why they are found low, mid level, or high).  Children will understand that trees grow in different habitats and have different needs.  This unit will also describe which trees are best for fire (birch burns long and slow in the winter so traditionally winter camps were close to birch trees).  Lastly, a service learning activity where students can participate in cutting and bundling kindling for Elders.

The behavioral health consultants will assist in pulling together supporting evidence and recommendations to amplify mental health benefits of language and culture. 

For example, going back to the tree unit.  Children exposed to "green spaces" have been shown in longitudinal studies to increase brain cell density.  Exposure to natural light has been shown to balance both melatonin and serotonin levels which are essential in sleep and mood.  It has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.  Going on "adventures" with groups of people has been shown to increase oxytocin which is a chemical that promotes bonding and trust.  Giving has been shown to improve mental health more than receiving (service learning unit and taking care of Elders).  There are studies that demonstrate the brain can bond to a land base the same way you bond to family.  For children suffering attachment disruption, bonding with a land base can be a safe place to start.

The educational consultant(s) will then identify cross curricular integration to translate into western academic terms the existing cognitive and academic skills that are innate in our cultural practices.  Going back to our tree unit example, if we were to do a service learning unit on cutting and bundling kindling for Elders.   We could talk about math: multiplication, addition, division, comparing and measuring, connecting numerals and quantities, quantifications.  We could talk about science: using scientific inquiry through discussion around why some tree species are better for kindling (pine and fir); demonstrating knowledge or characteristics of living things; demonstrating knowledge and physical properties of objects and materials; and using tools and other technology to perform tasks.  We could learn about language and literacy by writing and observing observation and reflecting on experiential learning experiences and writing letters to Elders.  We could essentially integrate every domain of learning into our curriculum to shift from language and cultural activities being an extra curricular to being the valid and credible modality of education for Native youth. 

These units and activities will contain language, songs, and any other relevant cultural resources to support the units.

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What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and how will you achieve them?

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Our goal for our first year is to establish a pipeline of ancestral knowledge by establishing a committee of First Language Okanagan Speaking Elders.  Then disseminating and packaging that information in an easy to use scoped and sequenced to send out to educational programs, families, and other relevant programs and organizations.  We will recruit Elders through existing relationships and through project partners.  We will retain Elder participation through honorariums.  

For the next five years, we envision our multiple project partners implementing this curriculum on our land and in our language.  We envision at least one large inter-community gathering for each season where children come together and can speak to one another because they have all been learning from the same unified curriculum.  

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How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?

The primary indicator of this project is the ongoing participation of L1 Elders at monthly virtual gatherings and the biannual in person gatherings. In order to accommodate the health and various needs of our Speakers, this will be measured by how many Elders attend each gathering rather than by the total number of elders involved in the project. 

Another indicator is the development of comprehensive language and cultural curriculum. This curriculum will include the following aspects: macro planner, standards, objectives, units, lesson plans, and support materials.  

Our final indicator will be trainings and technical assistance delivered to community.  This will be measured through trainings held and documented by sign in sheets.


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What is your theory of change?

Studies show that mental health issues are linked to poor educational outcomes and mental health is a predictor of educational achievement (Murphy et. al, 2014)  Educational outcomes are only a symptom of a larger mental health crisis that has been ongoing for indigenous youth since the boarding school era.  The Meriam Report from the 1930s (which called Indian Education grossly inadequate), the Kennedy Report from the 1960s (which called Indian Education a National Tragedy), and current educational data has been consistent across time that native students are struggling the most.  We are connecting the dots in that mental health creates a barrier to education, education creates a barrier to socioeconomic success, and low socioeconomic success creates a barrier to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  Again, demonstrating that indigenous peoples to the Americas are the ones who benefit the least from the wealth that indigenous lands generate for the government that sits upon them.

Not only are indigenous children and communities being failed, “There is clear evidence that cultural values and experiences shape neurocognitive processes and influence patterns of neural activation and may even effect neural structures. The study of the “cultural brain” is a critically important topic that demonstrates how fundamental cultural values and practices are at influencing thought.” (Park and Huang, 2019). This means that western education systems are physically wiring our children's brains to operate in a Eurocentric way while our languages and cultures die as a result of colonization.

To colonize means to have legal/political control over a land or people.  If Native families remove their children from public school, their children would be taken from them if they did not report to the state.  We are in active colonization and our children are still being systemically failed by the state and federal government.

Collective self esteem affects personal self esteem. Children are smart and know that school is where they go to get all the skills and knowledge to be successful in life.  If they go to school and see a lack of their own culture and language, they subconsciously interpret that as their own heritage is lower status. This then gets internalized in their own personal self esteem as lower status.  Lack of cultural and linguistic representation in education results in lack of engagement and insecurity.  Children may interpret cultural differences, learning style, or behavior as weakness.  May feel they need to develop a new identity to fit in.  Use of Native language is a clear affirmation of the value and status and those who speak it.  Just the simple act of including the child's language and culture in an educational setting increases their sense of self worth.(L. Morcom, 2017)

Indigenous language(s) and culture(s) are proven, in various studies, to improve mental health and wellbeing and even labeled as a "protective factor".  According to the national Center for Disease Control,  "For American Indian and Alaska Native tribes and communities, cultural and traditional teachings and practices are important protective factors that provide their people with strength and resilience to lead healthful lives." (Andrade et. al, 2019).  We believe that the answer lies within language and authentic cultural revitalization.  Fortunately there is a movement to open immersion schools and a huge push to revitalize our languages, but there is still a gap in that most immersion schools translate western public school systems and add some surface level cultural activities.

Andrade NS, Jones M, Frazier SM, Percy C, Flores M Jr, Bauer UE. Tribal Practices for Wellness in Indian Country. Prev Chronic Dis 2019;16:180660. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd16.180660external icon

Henson, M., Sabo, S., Trujillo, A., & Teufel-Shone, N. (2017). Identifying Protective Factors to Promote Health in American Indian and Alaska Native Adolescents: A Literature Review. The journal of primary prevention, 38(1-2), 5–26. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10935-016-0455-2

Kennedy Report; Education Resources, National Indian Law Library (NILL). (n.d.). Narf.org. Retrieved December 5, 2021, from https://narf.org/nill/resources/education/reports/kennedy/toc.html

Meriam Report: The Problem of Indian Administration; National Indian Law Library, Native American Rights Fund (NARF). (n.d.). Narf.org. https://narf.org/nill/resources/meriam.html

Morcom, L. (2017, November). APA PsycNet. Psycnet.apa.org. https://psycnet.apa.org/record...

Murphy, J. M., Guzmán, J., McCarthy, A. E., Squicciarini, A. M., George, M., Canenguez, K. M., Dunn, E. C., Baer, L., Simonsohn, A., Smoller, J. W., & Jellinek, M. S. (2014). Mental Health Predicts Better Academic Outcomes: A Longitudinal Study of Elementary School Students in Chile. Child Psychiatry & Human Development, 2, 245–256. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-014-0464-4

Park, D. C., & Huang, C.-M. (2010). Culture Wires the Brain. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 4, 391–400. https://doi.org/10.1177/174569...

Pharris, M. D., Resnick, M. D., & Blum, R. W. (1997). Protecting against hopelessness and suicidality in sexually abused American Indian adolescents. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 21(6), 400–406. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1054-139X(97)00166-3

Report Card - Washington State Report Card. (n.d.-b). Home - Washington State Report Card. Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://washingtonstatereportcard.ospi.k12.wa.us/ReportCard/ViewSchoolOrDistrict/103300?fbclid=IwAR00Y_Q-LWEWLo688clIReWeq3y7vI5KWYhKkyKySfKT_0Y6Ts4lEAw9HqQ

Winters, R. (2014, June 23). The Quiet Crisis in Native American Juvenile Justice. Corrections.com. http://corrections.com/news/article/36513-the-quiet-crisis-in-native-american-juvenile-justice

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Describe the core technology that powers your solution.

Starting out, we will be relying on web conferencing to connect us with our Elder Speakers and project partners.  Our Elders have gotten used to being on Zoom during the covid pandemic.  We be establishing monthly virtual sessions with our Elders and storying the recordings, data, and curriculums on shared and external drives.  

In addition, once curricula and resources are being developed, these will be accessible on a website.  Although, some information may not be available to the public on a website to due sensitivity.  

We will also be hosting a lot of our trainings and providing technical assistance and coaching virtually as well.  This is due to our land base being so large it can be difficult to all gather in a central location very often.  

Most importantly, we will be re-establishing our knowledge systems and indigenous protocols.  Our culture is by nature, full of science and technology.  Our tools, basketry, housing, art, cooking, ceremony, are all based on ISTEM.  By revitalizing our culture, we are revitalizing our technology that is at risk of being lost.

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Which of the following categories best describes your solution?

A new application of an existing technology

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Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:

  • Ancestral Technology & Practices
  • Crowd Sourced Service / Social Networks
  • Internet of Things
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Which of the UN Sustainable Development Goals does your solution address?

  • 3. Good Health and Well-being
  • 4. Quality Education
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In which states do you currently operate?

  • Washington
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In which states will you be operating within the next year?

  • Montana
  • Washington
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Your Team

What type of organization is your solution team?

Nonprofit

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How many people work on your solution team?

We are a new nonprofit. Once we are fully operational, we will have 1 part time position, 2 full time, 2-3 Subject Matter Expert Consultants, and 8-10 Elder Consultants

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How long have you been working on your solution?

We officially launched our nonprofit in November 2021. However, this vision started at least 5 years ago.

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What is your approach to incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusivity into your work?

We acknowledge that being sqilxʷ (indigenous) is in your heart and not your blood quantum.  To truly be a sqilxw person, means to accept and welcome without judgment.  The name of our nonprofit kʷu cnxiʔ translates into English as "We All Join In".  The image of our logo is a person standing outside of a tule lodge gesturing to come in as a sign of invitation.  Our culture was attacked with shame, guilt, and negativity, and it is our mission to reclaim in its opposite.  

Our Board of Directors biographies also demonstrate their passion and love for our communities and work to advocate for those most at risk.

Chair – Shandy Abhrahamson is the daughter of Joan Goujon, Sinixt and Robert Abrahamson, Spokane. Her paternal grandparents are Joseph and Kathy Abrahamson, Spokane and her maternal grandparents are David St. Paul and Marie Adolph, Sinixt. Shandy currently has the honor of working within the Washington Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction in the Office of Native Education as their Career Connect Learning Tribal Engagement Specialist. Shandy has always had a strong passion for lifting our tribal students, families and community through educational pathways. Shandy has had the opportunities and background in working with Early Childhood Education, the CCT Youth Development Program, and within higher education working with Washington State University and Wenatchee Valley College. 

Secretary – Kayce follows a line of matriarchal leaders; parents Timothy Palmer and Suzanne Ankney, paternal grandparents are the late Harold and Shirley Palmer (Wapato-Michel) of the Colville’s Entiat, Palus, and Okanogan bands and her maternal grandparents are the late Bob and Wilma Ankney of Colville’s San Poil, Moses/Columbia, and Entiat bands.  Kayce has always been a passionate advocate for our Tribal youth in all arenas but especially so in education, behavioral health, and recreation. For the past decade she has been working with the Colville tribes and youth in all surrounding areas from early childhood to higher education supporting the next generation in building their indigenous toolkit to support their life goals through all phases of growth. Kayce is driven to help answer our kids' cries for help that often comes out as behavioral issues that plague learning environments. Each child has so much potential to unlock that can heal the broken pieces of reservation life and she wants to nurture that seed to fruition.

Treasurer – Carmelita Campos is the daughter of Jose Campos of Sinaloa Mexico, and Barbara Watt-Phillips, sinixt and tulalip. Maternal grandparents Nellie Noyes (Mama Bear) and Eugene Phillips, of Inchelium.  Carmelita was born and raised in Omak Washington and currently resides there with her four children. Carmelita has worked with children and families on the Colville Indian reservation for the past 14 years. She started her career in the Tribal TANF welfare program working with high needs families. When the many years of experience as a school board member at PSIS Indian Boarding school helped her to realize that if she wanted to help our community she needed to go into Education, and therefore work with youth. One year as a Behavioral Intervention Specialist at PSIS lead her to an even younger age and focus area of families, Head Start. She currently holds a position as a lead Enrollment Specialist/Family Service Specialist, for the four Head Start centers of the Colville Reservation.  Also on a team that has begun to build a center located in Omak that will include a New Early Head Start Program, hold our current head start classrooms and space for our Hearts Gathered Language Immersion Montessori  school, who will service the same age group, and allow for coordination in language and culture between the two schools.  Carmelita will continue her passion working with high needs families and children, addressing health, education, disabilities, and family needs such as employment, homelessness, substance abuse, parenting skills while continuing her own growth and knowledge in language and culture, the ultimate prevention factors. 

At Large Board Member – Monique Bourgeau graduated from Eastern Washington University with a Bachelors in communications and minor in philosophy with a certificate in leadership. She chose communications to build on her networking and writing skills. Through experience she has realized that building relationships and becoming aware of issues through other perspectives is what will help her succeed in the work to slow Climate Change which is an area she is passionate about. She has experience in learning and teaching language and in that environment she learned how to become a leader. Monique believes leadership is using words to motivate others while you are right there beside them making the moves it takes to succeed.  Many take notice of the drive and fire Monique has for our Tribal communities as she was recognized during her college years with a state-wide student recognition award by the Washington state Association of College Trustees (ACT) called the “Transforming Lives Award”.

At Large Board Member – Meghan Francis is  a Colville Tribal member from the San Poil, Palus, Wenatchi, Moses-Columbia, and Entiat bands from Nespelem, Washington. Meghan has experience working in her tribal communities in the areas of: native youth, tribal health, behavioral health, disability awareness, vocational rehabilitation counseling, motivational interviewing, project coordination, health promotion, suicide prevention, drug and alcohol abuse prevention and tribal council public relations. Meghan was born and raised on the Colville Indian Reservation. Meghan hopes that with her experience and expertise in public relations, marketing and communication that Meghan can live her passion as a piece of a major cultural shift in an implementation of vital communication and resources tools for Indian Country. Her background includes networking with education, media relations, tribal government, natural resources, health and wellness backgrounds. Meghan received her Bachelor of Arts from Gonzaga University in Public Relations and a minor in Philosophy.

At Large Board Member – Daughter of Frank and Lonnie Seymour.  Michele grew up on the Colville Reservation in Inchelium and Omak Washington.  Michele Seymour found language revitalization in her recovery journey over 10 years ago.  She has personally experienced the powerful healing that comes with connection to language and culture.  She spent years with First Language Speakers and Cultural Knowledge Keepers at the Omak Language Preservation Program.  She was certified as a language teacher in 2015.  Michele has taught college courses and with young children both in immersion school and Tribal school setting.  Today, she works with some of our most at-risk youth as a language teacher at Paschal Sherman Indian School in Omak, Washington.  She genuinely enjoys working with children and is a passionate advocate for the children she works with and her own son as well.  She believes in our ancestral knowledge and makes it a priority to teach language through our cultural practices and the land.  

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Your Business Model & Funding

What is your business model?

"Economic development starts with early childhood development, and the best investments ensure all children have access to high-quality early childhood education. Evidence shows that increased access to high-quality early learning and care programs results in short-and long-term benefits to individuals and society. Research shows that for every dollar investment in high-quality early childhood education, society gains up to $7.30 in economic returns over the long term." (Quality Early Childhood Education – Economic Impact).

The curricula, resources, trainings, and virtual courses will all go towards building resilience through language and culture.  All of these products and services will go towards providing indigenous children with high quality trauma informed education tailored to their emotional, spiritual, cognitive, and cultural needs.  

Steps to provide products and services:

  1. Recruit Elder Speakers and write and secure contracts for behavioral health and education consultants.  
  2. Organize and facilitate monthly virtual meetings with First Language Speakers.  The Executive Operations Manager will handle the logistics and recordings.  The Executive Director will facilitate these meetings and prompt discussions.  The Curriculum Specialist will attend and take their own notes.
  3. The Executive Operations Manager will handle the logistics and recordings.  The Executive Director will facilitate these meetings and prompt discussions.  The Curriculum Specialist will attend and take their own notes.   Project staff will need to set up cameras and microphones around the room prior to Elder's arrival so we can record as much interaction as possible.
  4. Curriculum Specialist will tidy up any notes and review recordings as needed to add clarity to notes and store documents in local files and on shared drive(s).  
  5. After each gathering, the curriculum specialist will take meeting notes and categorize information collected and plug them into spreadsheets and word documents to organize themes, scope and sequences.  
  6. Meet biannually with partners who will implement curriculum and resources to update on progress, share resources, and solicit feedback.    
    The curriculum focus (subject area) will be decided upon by the Elders as an area most important to start.  This could be a curriculum for expecting parents and infants, preschool, college level, etc.  Or it can be a specific area such as traditional arts and crafts.     
  7. The Curriculum Specialist will develop a curriculum macro planner.  The macro planner outlines themes, subthemes, and standards taught following the seasons. Develop “standards” for curriculum.  The standards will be a group effort between the Elders, Executive Director, Curriculum Specialist, and Educational Consultant.  These may not be called standards in the curriculum itself.  The Elders will describe what it means to be a sqilxʷ person.  What are our values, beliefs, behaviors, and how we walk in the world, etc.  Also how that would look at the age level of our curriculum focus.  
  8. The Executive Director, Curriculum Specialist, and Educational Consultant would then disseminate that information according to the themes and subthemes.   
  9. Subject matter expert consultants meet with the Executive Director and Curriculum Specialist at least quarterly to plan, review, discuss, and develop curriculum based on Elder meetings and notes.   
  10. Offer at least two trainings per year for educators working with Native children around cultural education, cultural revitalization, mental health, etc. to raise awareness and community presence.  
  11. Develop informational flyers to support language and culture as mental health and education to raise awareness and build community presence.  
  12. Based on information solicited from the Elders, learning objectives for each domain of the curriculum will be developed by the Curriculum Specialist with support from the Executive Director.
  13. Based on information solicited from the Elders, thematic units will be put together.  Thematic units will contain detailed cultural knowledge on the topics, and will include relevant standards and objectives.  Cultural knowledge includes content like language, teachings, protocols, practices, etc.   
  14. Subject matter expert consultants meet with the Executive Director and Curriculum Specialist at least quarterly to plan, review, discuss, and develop curriculum based on Elder meetings and notes.  
  15. Using the thematic units and information solicited from the Elders, the Curriculum Specialist will develop lesson plans.  
  16. The final stage of curriculum development is the creation and packaging of support resources and materials.  This may include but is not limited to items such as: audio recordings, teacher manuals, trainings developed, protocol documents, etc.
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Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?

Organizations (B2B)
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What is your plan for becoming financially sustainable?

Our plan for sustainability is in grassroots fundraising efforts, grant writing, funding proposals, and selling merchandise.  So far we have written applications to two large funding sources.  We also plan to sell virtual live courses around language revitalization and indigenous education that will be available across the nation.  We will apply to be clock hour providers so that it will count toward professional development for educators.  

One of our key positions at kʷu cnxiʔ is our Operations Manager.  This position is responsible for the program outreach and marketing.  This includes: Manages program branding; leads strategic planning activities for marketing and outreach; reviews and responds to analytics for social media and listservs to see how the program is engaging the community; manages social media accounts, activities, and campaigns ;develops newsletters - provides information, trainings opportunities, events occurring; manages public forums; plan or assist in the planning and organizing of language and fundraiser events.

Here are some of our milestone activities for this year around project sustainability:

-Complete development program branding and marketing plan
-Organize and hold fundraising gala
-Apply to at least four large donors for funding
-Monthly outreach engagement such as: informational video, flyer, educational post with visuals, program updates, website promotions, seasonal campaigns and promote monthly giving program.


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Share some examples of how your plan to achieve financial sustainability has been successful so far.

So far our revenue has been completely grass roots.  We have received direct donations and had people sign up for monthly giving.  Also we have created a drop shipping positive affirmation apparel and accessory.  In addition to holding an Okanagan Salish language calendar fundraiser.

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Solution Team

 
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