Treatment with Tradition
Native American boys and teens often face several unique challenges as they navigate adolescence. Trying to balance their commitment to tribal expectations, culture, and customs with western ways during an already turbulent period in their lives can lead to behavioral issues, emotional struggles and even addiction. At Natchez Trace Youth Academy, we want to help these young men find a path towards success by using their positive culture, philosophy, and traditions as a support system and a model for health. Our Native American Enrichment Track integrates Native American cultural beliefs, teachings, and practices with evidence-based treatment to create a holistic program that encourages growth and mental wellness.
Our program helps young men fortify their Native heritage so they can discover what it means to be connected to the worlds they live in. We integrate many rituals that tribal members incorporate into daily life, like the Sweat Lodge, Talking Circle, and Medicine Wheel, to teach culturally relevant life lessons and support a cultural connectedness that encourages better problem-solving abilities, increased self-worth, and better behaviors. Native American students are given many opportunities to reconnect with cultural heritage and practice new skills both on campus and in the community through service learning outings, where we put our Positive Peer Culture model to action. Students encourage each other to accept changes in life and better manage moments of stress and difficulty.
ENRICHMENT PROGRAM FEATURES
Medicine Wheel: The medicine wheel has long been central to Native American culture, providing a physical symbol for the circle of life. Students use the medicine wheel to connect to physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of their lives to create cross-cultural connections and understanding.
Talking Circles: Similar to group therapy models, the talking circle offers a safe space for students to express their issues one at a time, without interruption, in an emotionally-safe space of support.
Sweat Lodges: These spaces are thought to connect the physical and the spiritual, offering participants a way to purify the body, soul and mind, and leaving one more connected to the earth.
While these aspects of the track are crucial to treatment, the activities above are also open to non-Native students who demonstrate interest and have a respectful attitude towards these cultural traditions. Take a tour of some of these spaces by clicking here.
Reach Out for Help
Our admissions staff is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. to schedule a no-cost, mental health assessment. Call 931-296-1183 to get started. For questions about our programs, you can also use our online contact form. In the case of a medical emergency or crisis, please dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.