Friendship House Association of American Indians (Friendship House) is a 501(c)(3), community-based organization, established in 1963 to serve American Indians who were relocated from their reservations to the San Francisco Bay Area. Since 1963, Friendship House has served more than 6,370 residential clients and hundreds of youth consumers and provided community events for countless numbers of American Indians throughout the Bay Area. San Francisco Bay Area counties are the predominant geographic areas served by Friendship House, and home to many California tribes. “The Ohlone are the predominant indigenous group of the Bay Area, including the Chochenyo and the Karkin in East Bay, the Ramaytush in San Francisco, the Yokuts in South Bay and Central Valley, and the Muwekma tribe throughout the region (bayareaequityatlas.org).” There are more than 96,000 AI/ANs in the six counties that comprise the San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo).
Friendship House operates three program facilities: the Friendship House American Indian Healing Center that includes an 80-bed adult residential substance abuse treatment program and is located in San Francisco; the Friendship House American Indian Lodge, a 9-bed facility for women and their children, located in Oakland; and the Friendship House Youth Program, an afterschool and summertime youth center, located in San Francisco. Geographic areas served by Friendship House include San Francisco, Sonoma, Napa, Solano, Contra Costa, Alameda and San Mateo counties. However, Friendship House outreach efforts extend beyond the Bay Area to include all of California and the Western Region of the United States.
The mission of Friendship House is to promote wellness in the American Indian community through services that address wellness, resilience, recovery and healing. Friendship House strives to meaningfully impact the lives of American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) people by reducing trauma, increasing resilience to substance misuse, and improving outcomes related to emotional, psychological, physical and spiritual well-being.
Approach to programming:
American Indian tribal and intertribal practices are integral to all that we do across: 1) the Friendship House Adult Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Program, 2) the FH Youth Program and 3) the FH Community Gatherings and Celebrations Program. The Friendship House Community Defined Evidence Practice (FH CDEP), based on the FH Healing Model, focuses on healing through strength-based and trauma-informed practices for the population of AI/AN adults, youth and children. Traditional Healers/Practitioners/Counselors are instrumental in conducting and guiding ceremonial services at Friendship House and all aspects of the FH Healing Model are guided by principles and values of American Indian/Alaska Native culture, history, traditions and spirituality. Prayer, song/drum circle, sweat lodge, traditional healer services, Native gatherings, and many other tribal and intertribal efforts are integral to Friendship House services. Throughout the delivery of Native services, apprenticeship, training and passing indigenous AI/AN knowledge forward to the next generation of American Indian healers is an ongoing effort, embedded in ceremonial activities.
The Friendship House Community Defined Evidence Practice (CDEP) is based on the FH Healing Model, using best practices in trauma informed services, substance abuse treatment and community wellness practices; and incorporating traditional indigenous methods such as Sweat Lodge ceremonies, Traditional Healer ceremonies, Talking Circle, Gathering of Native Americans (GONA), and many others. In general, the FH CDEP is designed to address the following question: Does the integration of American Indian healing practices into service delivery efforts have a positive impact on program recipient; wellness (mental, spiritual, physical and emotional), social/economic engagement and cultural connectedness?
The FH CDEP Study utilizes a non-experimental study design, measuring variables as they naturally occur through the programs and services of Friendship House Association of American Indians, of San Francisco (Friendship House). Treatment and recovery from substance abuse are studied through the lens of traditional healing practices. Ceremonial activities including cultural gatherings that engage the FH Youth Program and American Indian community are studied, as well. FH ceremonial activities include the following:
- Drum Circle is a new addition to the FH CDEP and is implemented weekly on an informal basis for residents.
- Talking Circle is implemented twice a month for residents of the FH Treatment Program who may participate in sessions lasting 1-2 hours each. Talking Circle is implemented once a month for youth program participants
- Sweat Lodge Ceremony is Implemented twice a month for residents and once a month for youth program participants, with sessions lasting up to 3 hours.
- Traditional Healers are selected to lead group and individual ceremony services for interested residents and youth program participants across a 2-day period, once every month. Traditional counselors and practitioners provide in-house services on a weekly basis for residential clients.
- Cultural Gatherings are provided seasonally and annually and engage community members, youth participants and residents of the substance abuse treatment program.
Who We Are
ONGOING CEREMONIAL ACTIVITIES
Talking Circle is implemented twice a month for residential clients and once a month for youth program participants
Sweat Lodge ceremony is implemented twice a month for residential clients and once a month for youth program participants
Traditional Healer group and individual ceremony services are implemented once every month across a 2-day period. Traditional counselors and practitioners provide in-house services on a weekly basis.
Cultural Gatherings and Celebrations are provided seasonally and annually and engage community members, youth participants and their families, and program residents of the substance abuse treatment program.
CDEP STAKEHOLDER PUBLICATIONS
Principal contact persons
Dorthy Lebron, PhD, Principal Investigator
Karen Waukazoo, Project Director