Author Archives: mykeljohnson

NAYA Celebrates 50 Years of Impact

As we commemorate half a century of dedicated service and advocacy, we reflect on our journey and celebrate our profound impact. Since our inception in 1974, we have been committed to uplifting Native American youth and families, foster resilience, and promoting cultural reclamation and sovereignty.  Over the past five decades, NAYA has evolved into aView Article >

Houseless youth rebuilding lives through NAYA and pilot program

Houselessness is a critical issue in Portland, with Native Americans disproportionately represented in Multnomah County. NAYA’s Youth Housing Services (YHS) works to change that for the nearly 93 youth, ages 16-24, served by the program through offering housing and other basic human needs like food, hygiene products, childcare, and connection to culture.   YHS isView Article >

NAYA 2023 Year in Review

NAYA serves a large and diverse Native American community–60,000 people representing more than 380 tribes. Each member of our community has a unique pathway to thrive and prosper, and NAYA is dedicated to be in service to all. Here’s a look back at some of our achievements of the past year: TOGETHER, we continue toView Article >

A community promise–opening our economic development office in Cully

On a beautiful, sun-lit afternoon in mid-December 2023, we celebrated the Grand Opening of munk-yeʔlan sax̣ali, [moonk-YEH-lǔn SAH-hah-lee] meaning “to help up, to boost” in the Chinook language. munk-yeʔlan sax̣ali [moonk-YEH-lǔn SAH-hah-lee] is NAYA’s new service hub in the Cully neighborhood and home to NAYA’s suite of community economic development and prosperity programs, including OurView Article >

The Scarcity of Winter: Feeding our Community

On the heels of an incredibly inspiring UnThanksgiving event in NAYA’s community garden, and an amazingly bountiful harvest this year, the reality that our community continues to face food insecurity comes sharply into focus.   Since time immemorial, Indigenous peoples have prepared for the scarcity of winter with traditional ways of preserving and putting foodView Article >

Coming Home. NAYA’s award-winning affordable housing projects.

While we celebrate and honor the cultures, traditions, and histories of Native American communities during National Native American Heritage Month, at NAYA we celebrate our heritage and resilience year-round and in everything we do. Foundational to our work and mission, continued innovation and adaptation allows us to expand our programs to better serve our community.View Article >

Gathering in Gratitude at the 11th Annual Neerchokikoo Powwow: Dancing on Native land!

On September 16, the Portland region’s Native community, NAYA staff, and allies came together for the first in-person powwow in nearly four years. NAYA’s campus was transformed as drummers and dancers gathered in the pavilion, vendors filled the gymnasium with their crafts and wares, and honorees and guests participated in our honoring ceremony. It wasView Article >

Reflections on the pandemic by Poli Joshevama

It has been an incredible privilege for NAYA’s Health Equity program, alongside the Future Generations Collaborative, to support Portland’s urban Indigenous community during the COVID-19 pandemic. From testing to vaccinations and wraparound support, our team worked diligently to ensure that our community was safe and healthy.   We started our testing events at NAYA in 2020View Article >

Return to Neerchokikoo–a community’s dream realized

The journey home The Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA) was founded in 1974 by parent volunteers, concerned about the low high school graduation rates of their youth. They organized after-school sports and tutoring sessions to keep youth engaged in their education and their community. Over the years, with the same intention of servingView Article >