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Published April 19, 2018
Representatives from the Native Wellness Institute (NWI) will be at the University of Wyoming April 23-24 for training workshops intended to bring positive changes in the lifestyles, relationships, education and overall wellness of not only Native Americans, but also other members of the UW community.
The UW Native American Education, Research and Cultural Center (NAERCC) sponsors the free, two-day event.
Based on more than 30 years of wellness and healing training experiences, the NWI offers training to bring positive behavioral change. Through positive youth and adult development models, Native specific and culture-based curricula and processes, mainstream approaches, and indigenous social research and culture are offered. NWI brings cutting-edge programs to Indian Country by experienced Native facilitators who have completed their own core healing work themselves.
"One of the goals of the Native American Education, Research and Cultural Center is to strengthen the development of the future leaders of Indian Country,” says James Trosper, the director of both the NAERCC and the High Plains American Indian Research Institute. “In order for positive change to occur in our communities, it will be important for our future leaders to understand where negative behavior comes from. We want to provide our students with the tools they will need to create positive growth for our people."
According to NWI facilitators, Native wellness is a way of life, striving for balance among each person’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being.
“We can bring wellness into many aspects of our lives, including the workplace, where we often spend the majority of our time,” they say.
A coffee-and-donuts hour opens the NWI training sessions at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 23, in the NAERCC classroom, located on the corner of 10th and Ivinson streets.
Training sessions for UW faculty and staff members are from noon-2 p.m. in Salon A of the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center. Student training follows from 3-5 p.m., also in Salon A.
A public presentation about the NWI is scheduled Tuesday, April 24, at 11 a.m. in the NAERCC classroom. One-on-one consultation, featuring UW President Laurie Nichols and Trosper, is scheduled from 3-4 p.m. in the Old Main boardroom.
Student training continues from 5-7 p.m., and a dinner for participants is planned from 7-9 p.m. in the Gateway Center.
According to the NWI, Native communities abound with cultural strengths and resiliency. However, these can be hidden or masked with unhealthy behaviors, including chronic negativity, chaos, gossip and tearing down one another.
“It took generations for Native communities to experience such unhealthiness, and it will take generations to see positive change and for healthy behaviors becoming the norm of the community like in our ancestors’ time,” say NWI facilitators. “The Native Wellness Institute recognizes the great impacts of historical trauma and oppression on our people. We understand that historic trauma has caused current-day trauma in our families and communities. This is evident by the high rates of substance abuse, violence, gossip, negativity, poverty and other destructive behaviors and conditions.”
The NWI helps to create an awareness of where negative behavior comes from, provides opportunities for growth and healing and, most important, helps people move forward in a positive way. NWI facilitators do this by providing training and technical assistance based on Native culture that promotes the well-being of individuals, families, communities and the workplace.