A Message From The Office of Tribal Relations: November Newsletter

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A Message From the Office of Tribal Relations

November 2021

Native American Heritage Month

native american heritage month

November is Native American Heritage Month, also referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

What began at the turn of the century as an effort to set aside a day to recognize the contributions of Native Americans, grew in 1986 to a week (American Indian Week), and starting in 1995, every President has signed a proclamation setting the month of November to honor our first nations.  

This month is a great time to both celebrate the rich cultures, traditions, and histories of our Native peoples, but to also recognize the struggles and challenges faced both currently and historically.

Please see both our national and state proclamations honoring Native American Heritage Month 2021:

In This Issue:

Job Opportunities

Muckleshoot Indian Tribe: Family Protection Advocate/Liaison

Office of the Governor: Associate Education Ombuds

Puyallup Tribe of Indians: CPS Supervisor/Intake, CPS Investigator, Child Welfare Caseworker

Suquamish Tribe: Tribal Child Welfare Director

Treehouse: Tribal Education Specialist - Puyallup

Washington Administrative Office of the Courts: Early Childhood Court Statewide Coordinator

Washington Region 16 Comprehensive Center: Project Manager

Native American Heritage Month Events and Resources


In an effort to highlight Native American Heritage Month, the DCYF Office of Tribal Relations is sponsoring several opportunities to engage, learn, and grow in understanding and appreciation of American Indian and Native Alaskan history and culture. Join us for the following:

  • Monday, Nov. 15, 12-12:30 p.m.:  Barbara Bad Elk from the Dakota Nation will speak on “Her Story and the Sixties Scoop.” Thousands of indigenous children were taken from their families and communities in Canada during an era known as the “Sixties Scoop.” Barbara Bad Elk was one of those children. Please join us to hear her talk about her experiences: Join Zoom meeting.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 17, 12:30-1 p.m.: Musician, artist, and storyteller Randy Kemp, from the Euchee/Choctaw Nation, will tell stories and play his flute for you. For more information about Randy Kemp, please see his website at indigenousartmachine.com. Please join us for this performance: Join Zoom meeting.
  • Monday, Nov. 22, 1-2 p.m.: Please join us in welcoming Jeremy Badoldman and listen to his life experience within the system, and how cultural ceremonies were healing. Join us for this presentation: Join Zoom meeting.



  • Seedcast is a story-centered podcast produced by Nia Tero where they dig up, nurture, and root stories of the Indigenous experience from around the world.

  • Nia Tero: Podcasts provides a list of podcasts that you can access.

  • DCYF ESIT Tribal Support Specialist Brian Frisina hosts a radio show on KAOS, titled Make No Bones About It and has some great interviews!

  • This Land podcast hosted by Rebecca Nagle follows the court cases that are currently underway in effort to dismantle ICWA. It also includes a historical overview of ICWA.

  • All My Relations is a podcast hosted by Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee) where they invite guests, play games, and explore relationships with our land and creational relatives, and to hear new perspectives.

  • Toasted Sister podcast is all about Indigenous Food! 

  • Seen and Heard by the Institute for Family is a podcast about disrupting the child welfare system by the simple act of seeing families in their full humanity.

  • Indigenae podcast shares conversations with traditional practitioners, Indigenous health care workers, activists, researchers, artists, and survivors.

Hy’shqe Siam (Thank You), From Lummi Child Welfare


Our Lummi Schelangen, our way of life, teaches us to express gratitude at every opportunity, and we are grateful for this invitation to shine a light on a few of the staff among our DCYF partners who are doing fantastic work. Lummi Nation’s Child Welfare Program staff have been fortunate to have the opportunity to assist our DCYF partners with the evaluation of ICWA case work. As one might guess, there were excellent examples of social work, but overall the results were less impressive than the previous study. 

In an effort to help improve outcomes for all Native children involved in child welfare system, from CPS investigations to permanency, Lummi Child Welfare has developed an Active Efforts Guide. So far, agencies in Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, and Arizona are using the Guide to help change the understanding of what Active Efforts means.

We are grateful that our closest partners, in the Bellingham Office and Social Workers in other DCYF offices have been determined to make and be the difference. For example, Dee Alexander’s team in the Bellingham Office, with Alicia Gaston, Jeremy Mootz, Alexandra Holden, and Melissa Peacock, have gone beyond just Active Efforts in their social work and are actively seeking out knowledge of the Lummi culture and Schelangen (way of life) in an effort to improve communication with Lummi members. 

The Bellingham ICW unit also stress inclusion of detailed accounts of their Active Efforts (including services and rehabilitative programs) into Dependency Petitions so that the court and tribes can see what has been accomplished to prevent the breakup of Indian families. They collaborates with tribal workers and families to keep tribal children in tribal homes and prevent unnecessary removals. Most importantly, these efforts and teamwork with tribal programs have produced a significant improvement in families working together to keep children safe and a marked reduction in Lummi children entering the dependency system.

Lummi staff also specifically mentioned Lauren Olsen’s efforts to identify parents’ strengths and barriers, always making extra efforts to find parents, transport them to services and work in a culturally sensitive manner. Lauren’s efforts allow for greater support for the family and cultural connections. Lummi appreciates what she has done for our Lummi families. Outside of Bellingham, in a recent case Monica Berry in Mason County was an excellent support for a Lummi family. Lauren’s efforts to expand her knowledge of how to best work with Native families, find answers and the best possible solutions, have led to family success.

Hy’shqe Siam (thank you) to all our DCYF partners.

Ralph Jefferson, Kwenangets Director
Lummi Nation

Centennial Accord

The Centennial Accord is all about officially recognizing the government-to-government relationship between the state of Washington and the 29 federally recognized sovereign Indian tribes in Washington. Its purpose is to build and enhance communication between the tribes and the state, with the intent to foster trust and improve services. As part of the Centennial Accord, an annual meeting between state representatives and the tribes is held in an effort to identify and address issues or obstacles and develop joint strategies to achieve specific goals.

In addition to the Centennial Accord, RCW 43.376 was enacted which defines the state’s responsibilities to collaborate with the tribes in the development of policies. RCW 43.376.020 designates a tribal liaison who reports directly to the head of the agency; each department within the state has their own office that fulfills this purpose – for DCYF, it is the Office of Tribal Relations (Director Tleena Ives) who reports directly to Secretary Ross Hunter.

This RCW also requires the submittal of an annual report to the governor on the activities of the state involving our Indian tribes.

Review this year's: DCYF Agency Highlights.

This year, the annual meeting in recognition of the Centennial Accord was hybrid and was hosted by the Squaxin Island Tribe. Many state representatives and tribal chairs came together with Gov. Inslee and his Chief of Staff, Jamila Thomas, in person, while many others joined remotely for the two- day event.  Tuesday, Oct. 26 saw meetings on the Governor’s Indian Health Advisory Council, the Tribal Leaders Social Services Council, and the Executive Work Session on Natural Resources. Wednesday, Oct. 27 was devoted to the 32nd Annual Centennial Accord Meeting. If you are interested in viewing the meeting, it should be posted on the Governor’s Office of Indian Affairs in the near future.

Farewell to Christina Parker, DCYF Social Worker

christina parker

Region 2 would like to say a special thank you and farewell to social worker Christina Parker. Christina has worked for DCFS/DCYF for more than 10 years serving in many different programs including CPS/FAR, CFWS, voluntary services, and most recently Tribal Payment Only worker in the Toppenish office. 

Christina is very close to the Native community and she enjoyed working with the Yakama Nation. She earned her Masters degree in social work in 2017 and she brought a wealth of knowledge, kindness, and family advocacy to DCYF. 

She has a special talent working with tribal families and she was  considered a mentor to other social workers. We were very fortunate for Christina’s most recent work serving on the ICWA policy team with DCYF and tribal leaders. 

We wish Christina the best as she continues her career serving clients and families in the Yakima Valley. She will be missed! 

Funding Opportunities

  • Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for the Family-to-Family Health Information Centers (F2F HICs): Eligible applicants include any domestic public or private entity. Domestic faith-based and community-based organizations, tribes, and tribal organizations are eligible to apply. Eligibility for this funding opportunity is limited to applicants within the 50 states, the District of Columbia, the 5 U.S. Territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands) and entities that will serve American Indian and/or Alaska Native Tribes. Note: Multiple applications from an organization are not allowable. You can only apply to one of the target areas described in Program-Specific Instructions: (1) states, (2) U.S. Territories, or (3) American Indians/ Alaska Natives. The application must clearly identify the target area. No more than one award will be made to conduct activities in a state, the District of Columbia, U.S. territory, or tribe. Access the full NOFO.

  • Opportunity for Indigenous Scholars: The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg American Health Initiative and Center for American Indian Health are pleased to announce a collaboration to support a new generation of Indigenous public health leaders working with Tribal Nations or agencies serving Indigenous communities through the Bloomberg Fellows Program. The Bloomberg Fellows Program offers a full scholarship for the Master of Public Health (MPH) and a $10,000 stipend, and starting in 2022 will support cohorts of Indigenous scholars each year! The application deadline is Dec. 1. https://americanhealth.jhu.edu/fellowship

  • The Steven R. Nelson Native Educator Scholarship for Native American people pursuing education. Applications for next year will be made available on Nov. 30, with a deadline of March 31, 2022. https://educationnorthwest.org/nelsonscholarship

Conferences and Training Opportunities

  • Becoming a Qualified Expert Witnesses (QEW) in Support of ICWA: This training will provide context around the role of QEWs in state ICWA cases and offer you an interactive learning session to illustrate what QEW testimony looks like in practice. In 13.5 hours over three days, you will gain an understanding of how to be a QEW to testify in ICWA cases. When considering removal of an Indian child from their home, various perspectives are reviewed, including those of QEWs. Click here for information on how to register.
  • Nov. 1-5, Washington Association of Child Advocate Programs 2021 Annual Conference. Join more than 40 presentations and sessions from experts and practitioners from across the state to enhance and strengthen your advocacy for children and their families in the dependency system. Registration is $100 and gives you access to all sessions and exclusive access to all recordings from each session. Learn more and register here.
  • Dec. 6, 1-3 p.m., Building Family Partnerships (BFP) Statewide Virtual Convening. The BFP Convening will showcase representatives from each lived experience community presenting the overarching themes and recommendations to a leadership panel comprised of child welfare stakeholders, including DCYF leaders, legislative representatives, and court partners.  The leadership panel and each lived experience representative will have the opportunity to engage in open dialogue about the themes and recommendations. Register here.
  • Save the Dates! 2022 Education Forum, from the Harborview Abuse & Trauma Center. Download the flyer.