Prevention. Intervention. Respect.
Tipis in a field

Cowlitz Tribal Child Resilience Project


Recognizing that its culturally rich activities have not been organized into an overall prevention/resilience services model, the Cowlitz Indian Tribe is developing a model to give structure and evaluative markers to the enthusiasm and good intentions of its existing approaches, including the Healing of the Canoe curriculum for youth and the Tribe’s youth program and Pathways to Healing program. The program is informed by the belief that historical and inter-generational trauma can be ameliorated through a socio-cultural-ecological approach that nurtures resilience as a key trait for preventing a range of problems, including involvement in the child welfare system. The Tribe plans to create a prevention/resilience model based on the its unique circumstances and inspired by members’ interest in learning about and living the values of “being Cowlitz”. This will be an integrated, practice-informed approach, designed to improve the resilience, health, and well-being of Cowlitz youth and families. The model will identify and transmit traditional and contemporary Cowlitz cultural values and practices throughout the Tribe’s health and human services programs and will include participation in Cowlitz cultural activities and events.

Goals and outcomes

  • Enhance Cowlitz children’s and families’ resilience and connection to their Tribal cultural heritage to decrease risks that might otherwise lead to involvement in the child welfare system and/or substance use disorder treatment.
  • Develop an integrated model that consolidates prevention activities under a unified vision.
  • Build community wellness by connecting and strengthening coalitions.
  • Strengthen future generations through Positive Indian Parenting.
  • Support revitalization of the Cowlitz language as a source of resilience for families and children.
  • Implement tools and processes to track and monitor progress and collaboration.

Project highlights


To inform the development of a resilience-focused program, the Cowlitz project conducted a community survey on child welfare and child maltreatment issues. The survey received more than 100 responses from Tribal members, suggesting strong buy-in for developing practices to address these issues in the community.