Training and Leadership


Passing on Tradition is a mentoring program for Native Girls by Native Women. Mentoring is a contemporary term, but American Indians and Alaska Natives have taught their values, customs, and skills through observation and hands-on activities since time immemorial. Historically, the matrilineal structure of many tribes revered women as the givers of life who taught youth their roles and the expectations for behavior in tribal societies. Today, at a time when such guidelines are needed more than ever for Native youth to excel and even to survive in unhealthy homes, such constructive exampling is often absent.

In the NIWHRC program called, Passing on Tradition, Indian women from tribal communities across the country were recruited and trained in mentoring protocol. Each then taught traditional skills from their own tribal history and the leadership skills that are needed for today's demanding world to one Native girl from their community. The girls who have participated in this program range from the fifth grade to second year in college. Blending traditional heritage with modern leadership skills helped to build a group of resilient young Native women who have learned how to address important issues, not only in their own lives, but in the lives of their families and their tribes as well.

Elder Native women were also positively impacted. By sharing their stories, their work skills, and especially their traditional knowledge, their worth as older women in the community was reinforced. As a result, most of the women involved have chosen, like June Hamilton, to continue their mentor relationship, "as long as my mentee wants to."

The NIWHRC staff are available to assist communities that are interested in setting up a mentoring program.



Staff and consultants provide training in the following areas:

Indian Women in action- 
a training for local community groups to provide an empowerment tool for identifying health issues, planning and initiate action for change in their community.

Community Promise-
a training to assist local community groups to form a coalition, learn skills and gain knowledge to make community level behavioral changes.(HIV/AIDS)

Train local community women on the roles and responsibilities of being a mentor, choosing a mentee and working woth the young women to strengthen their identities as Indian women and learn how to become responible and contrbuting members of their society/tribal community.

Traditional Leadership-
This training provides "Traditional Leadership Training" to Indian women leaders in the field of health to strengthen their capacity to govern the organizations in which they are involved. The training also incorporates traditional roles of women in leadership positions.

Cultural Competency-
This training is for non-Indians at the state and federal level working with Indian program staff and serving AI/AN Indian patients. The training includes explanations of sovereignty and the multiple Indian health systems accessed by Indian people, as well as cultural beliefs, social traits and learning styles of Indian people.

Health Systems Training-
Includes training on the Resource & Patient Management Systems (RPMS) Women's Health Software Package and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA).

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