LCSNW honors Tribal partners for their heritage and generosity

by | Nov 22, 2022 | Child Welfare, Crime Victim Services, Refugees & Immigrants

The top line of this multi-lingual T-shirt gives the Salish translation of LCSNW’s tagline: Health. Justice. Hope. New staff in the agency’s Spokane district receive the shirt as a welcome gift.

In honoring the first people of this region and acknowledging Native American Heritage Month, we turn our attention to some of the ways that our Tribal partners support Lutheran Community Services Northwest in providing health, justice and hope.

Every one of our offices in Washington, Oregon and Idaho is located on original tribal lands. Some of our offices open their meetings or events with an indigenous land acknowledgement similar to this.

One of the strong relationships that LCSNW enjoys is with the Cowlitz Tribe in Southwest Washington. The Cowlitz Tribe has granted $168,000 to the agency in just the last year. Much of it has been in support of refugee programs.

LCSNW Vancouver Program Manager Joe Asbridge said support from the Cowlitz Tribe came in some surprising ways. “Our first $20K was for crime victim support. Our next grant request was for Afghan refugees.”

When Joe submitted an application to the Community Foundation of Southwest Washington, he was delighted to learn that $80K was awarded by the Cowlitz Tribe. “It allowed us to hire an employment and housing specialist to support the huge influx of Afghan refugees we were seeing.”

Similarly, the Cowlitz Tribe has stepped in recently to help LCSNW with the high volume of Ukrainian refugees. “The Vancouver area has more refugees per capita than anywhere else in Washington,” Joe said, “and due to their status as refugees of war, there are less benefits and dollars available to assist them. The Cowlitz Tribe stepped up with $68K for direct Ukrainian assistance. We are prioritizing those funds and helping the families of greatest need.”

Joe was also pleasantly surprised that he asked for $28K in funds and was awarded $68K. `

“The Cowlitz Tribe is very generous in sharing their casino profits with the community and we are grateful for that generosity,” Joe added.

Elsewhere, the agency enjoys harmonious tribal relations in districts including:

  • George Lopez, General Manager for the Klamath Tribes, speaks at the LCSNW dedication ceremony for A Family Gathering Place Relief Nursery in August.

    Yamhill County, Oregon – The Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde were the very first funders to support A Family Place Relief Nursery. This allowed the hiring of a program director to get the relief nursery off the ground. “They have continued to work with us over the past 10 years providing support for two expansion locations,” said Jordan Robinson, Yamhill District Director.

  • Klamath Falls, Oregon – Clinical Supervisor Garrick Jackson said that the local Klamath Tribes have been supportive of LCSNW programs in Southern Oregon. They have endorsed initiatives like the Behavioral Health Resource Network grant and have written letters that helped LCSNW secure funding for A Family Gathering Place Relief Nursery and other types of assistance.

  • Inland Northwest – Our Spokane, Washington, District works with several Tribes in multiple ways. The Kalispel Tribe is a major sponsor of the annual Chocolate & Champagne Gala. Tribal partners have co-sponsored webinars and presentations with LSCNW and other organizations, like those offered at the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. Last year when staff had the idea of translating our agency tagline into a Native American language, the Salish School of Spokane gladly did the translation, which now appears on T-shirts for all new staff.

LCSNW took the recent step to name the Day after Thanksgiving holiday as Native American Heritage Day to show our respect for Native people and traditions. We are so very grateful for the involvement and collaboration of the Tribes who originally inhabited the land upon which our offices sit.