15 Things to Know About NAYA in 2015
There’s a lot going on at NAYA, from vital new programs and bold, first-ever initiatives, to sustaining the traditions that bring our community together. Our organization is rich with cultural inspiration, from the land where we gather, work and play to the Indigenous lens that guides every program and service we offer. Below is our list of 15 things to know about NAYA in 2015. And of course, there’s so much more. Make sure to follow along on social media, and sign up for our email newsletter, so you keep up with Portland’s Native American community.
1) The Strategic Longhouse
NAYA’s Strategic Longhouse is a three-year plan that guides our work. Informed by the community, clients, staff and leadership at NAYA, the Strategic Longhouse is a summary of the priorities our people have identified as paths to success for our organization and community. At the beginning of this year we’re gathering input for our 2016-2019 Strategic Longhouse. Learn more and see early results here.
2) Save the Date for Our Two Biggest Events
Every year, NAYA holds two community gatherings that showcase the impact we’re making in the community while supporting our organization. The Early College Academy Luncheon, in support of our alternative high school will be on Wednesday April 8th, here at NAYA. Click here to learn more, buy tickets, or sponsor the event.
And NAYA’s premiere event, the NAYA Gala, has been confirmed for Friday, November 13th at the Portland Art Museum. This intimate evening gathering is an opportunity to support Portland’s Native American community while enjoying a traditionally-inspired dinner, dancing, and music while hearing the stories of our people’s continued success. Last year’s Gala was the most successful in history. Tickets are not yet on sale, but be sure to get your tables and sponsorships early, as we anticipate the event will sell out even earlier this year.
3) Bringing Three Generations Together
We are Youth Centered, Family Driven, and Elder Guided. The Native American community is traditionally intergenerational. We’re reviving that tradition with our Generations community development project. This year, NAYA is kicking the development into high gear, preparing to break ground and launching our first-ever capital campaign. Learn more at the Generations website.
4) The Four Areas of the Relational Worldview
All the programming at NAYA is offered using the indigenous lens of the Relational Worldview Model. The model is the creation of our partners at the National Indian Child Welfare Association. The Relational Worldview is a nonlinear way of seeing the world and realizing that everything is interconnected. The model emphasizes the need for balance among the four areas of life: mind, body, spirit and social context. The mind is in balance when a person is relaxed, educated, and feels safe, and when mental illness and addiction are treated. The body is healthy when it is nourished, and when material affairs like money and housing are in order. The spirit of an individual is in balance when the person is proud of who they are and their heritage and makes good decisions. The social context is in balance when a person has a strong and supportive community of loving friends and family. When any one area of life is out of balance, a person experiences hardship. NAYA’s diverse array of programming creates positive change, moving individuals along a lifetime continuum from needing services to being able to give back to the community materially and culturally.
5) Coming Soon – Head Start at NAYA
NAYA, working in conjunction with the Oregon Child Development Coalition, will be offering two new all-day Head Start classrooms for our community. Official start dates have not yet been set, but once open, this will enable community members to access a service that Native people in Portland often lack. Head Start helps a child to become ready for Kindergarten, setting up our youth for a lifetime of academic and economic success. Stay tuned to our Facebook and twitter accounts for updates about this exciting new program.
6) The Elders Wall
In 2008 community Elders were interviewed by NAYA Early College Academy students in a project to honor and uplift the stories of our ancestors. Currently hanging in the NAYA Cafetorium, the Elders Wall project contains dozens of pictures of some of the most respected and revered individuals in our community. We are working to bring these stories to a wider audience with a digital version of the popular photograph and interview series. Check out the Elders Wall on our new Community Page, and keep coming back as we continue to add to the online collection.
7) The Seventh Generation
We as Native people must always remember the seventh generation: from our great-grandparents to our great-grandchildren we must sustain our cultures and remember our heritage, history and traditions. We do this by considering the impact that our decisions will have on those who live seven generations from now. This point of view makes us aware of how our work today will impact those who come after us, and gives us great respect for the original inhabitants of these lands. Oren Lyons, Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan, Onondaga Council of Chiefs, Haudenosaunee (Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy) writes: “We are looking ahead , as is one of the first mandates given us as chiefs, to make sure and to make every decision that we make relate to the welfare and well-being of the seventh generation to come. . . .” “What about the seventh generation? Where are you taking them? What will they have?”
NAYA is located on the site of a traditional Multnomah Chinook fishing village, known as Neerchokikoo. The Columbia Slough on the north side of our campus was once the home of a vibrant village, featuring 25 plank houses and 25 additional structures of bark and straw. One large house with wide boards is believed to have served as the central meeting location. European explorers in 1792 documented a beautiful site connected to the river estuaries. To honor the inhabitants of this land since time immemorial, each year NAYA hosts the Neerchokikoo Honoring Powwow, where we give thanks to our ancestors, Elders, and everyone who has provided NAYA with support throughout the year.
9) Sustaining Traditions – Bow & Arrow Culture Club, Culture Night and more
Gathering in the early 1960’s, Native American families that were relocated to Portland or looking for work after World War II began to find one another and started meeting in homes, parks and church halls to share stories and traditions. Although they came from different tribal backgrounds they quickly determined that they needed to begin to teach their young children these traditions, culture, spirituality and the Native way of life. Formalizing in 1969 as the first Native American non-profit in the Portland area, the Bow & Arrow Culture Club (BACC) began weekly Gatherings where singing, drumming, dancing, potlucks, and other traditions could be shared and taught. In 1986, BACC gained the right to plan and coordinate the Annual Delta Park Powwow and Encampment, which began in 1970 and was previously managed by various groups. BACC has hosted the annual gathering since 1986 and has focused the theme on sobriety and community. BACC continues weekly Friday Night Gatherings at NAYA, with potlucks, drumming, dancing and other cultural sharing. Many families have held traditional naming ceremonies, first-kill ceremonies and other Native traditions at the Friday Night Gatherings. See the schedule on our Web Calendar.
10) NAYA’s 10 Core Values
NAYA community members came together to identify the ten core values that our community upholds. These indigenous, culturally-rooted values guide the decisions of our Board, staff and community members who participate in our wide range of programs. The core NAYA values are: pride, respect, kindness, leadership, accountability, giving, diversity, tradition, balance and community.
11) Community Leaders Council
Because leadership is an important value in Native American culture, NAYA has been working to provide more opportunities to develop leadership skills and experience to our community. We’re now convening a group of young community leaders to form a Community Leaders Council. This cohort will gather regularly to focus on raising NAYA’s profile and making us more successful. We hope the team will bring a new wealth of knowledge and ideas around fundraising, community outreach and the success of existing events. As their first order of business, the group came together to donate gifts to community youth who attended NAYA’s Winter Gathering, in hopes to make the holidays brighter for children in the community. The group held its first official meeting in January 2015.
12) Events All The Time
Every month of the year, NAYA hosts community gatherings, vital programs and service, and attends public events. Consider attending a Native Professionals and Friends Night, where our community and friends gather for fun and refreshments, to network with leaders and the up-and comers who work in and partner with our organization. We post as many of these opportunities as we can on our web calendar.
13) Free Tax Site Returns
NAYA is offering our free tax site again this year. Community members can file tax returns for any previous year, including 2014, to ensure they get the refund they’re entitled to, and don’t owe more than necessary. You can learn more about this service on NAYA’s web calendar.
14) 40 Years of History
NAYA’s 40th year was one of our most successful, but every day at NAYA for the last 40 years has been important, helping us to arrive where we are today. You can learn about NAYA’s origins and our growth in our special edition newsletter, Celebrating 40 Years of Service.
We’ve always been a community that comes together in mutual support. You can join the circle: make a tax-deductible donation today. If you can’t afford to give now, perhaps you could donate goods or services? Each year NAYA raises thousands of dollars through auctions and raffles of donated items. Learn more by contacting Development Coordinator Anna Allen at (503) 288-8177 x 224. And as always, we encourage you to volunteer! NAYA was founded by parent and Elder volunteers, and for 20 years we didn’t have any paid staff. Volunteers are still integral to the work we do every day. Learn about opportunities to get involved on the Volunteer Page.