Leveraging Tribal Resources
Contribution by Cree Whelshula
Resources can come in many forms such as funding, facility, materials, supplies, services, expertise, or labor. In working for a tribe or tribal organization, many opportunities abound to partner with other organizations to share resources. The trick is to find the common ground and financial justifications between you and your potential partner. This is where I find it very important to thoroughly understand the benefits of language and culture.
A great resource for finding the benefits of language and culture is the website from the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). They have an advocacy section that lists various studies that support language learning as beneficial for academic achievement, cognitive function (thinking, problem solving, memory, decision making, etc.) and attitudes and beliefs towards culture (https://www.actfl.org/center-assessment-research-and-development/what-the-research-shows).
On our website (https://ananlcc.org/resources/language/) we have a resources section for language that has articles that support language and culture as beneficial for emotional health and physical health. Specifically, language and culture are shown to reduce anxiety and depression, lower suicide rates, decrease diabetes rates, decrease drug and alcohol abuse, decrease rates of domestic violence, increase self-esteem and self-efficacy, and increase overall wellbeing.
After thoroughly understanding the various benefits of language, you can then research the vision and mission statements of various departments to see where you can align possible partnerships. For example, in understanding that language and culture positively affect education, which then increases socioeconomic outcomes, you can approach programs like temporary assistance for needy families (TANF), Johnson O’ Malley (JOM), libraries, higher education, or employment and training to see how the programs can be mutually beneficial to one another. Tribes usually have programs like diabetes prevention and management, suicide prevention, drug prevention, and other health related programs. Look for wording in mission statements like education, self-sufficiency, and healing or health.
Again, the objective is to find the justifications for that program to utilize their own resources to support your program. The more you know, the better able you will be to find those connections and justifications. Never be afraid to ask a program manager/director to sit with you to discuss your needs.
For language benefit resources visit