Life Skills For The Young Native American - 1
Life Skills For The Young Native American - 1

Life Skills For The Young Native American - 1



  This Wellness Program was designed to give children the life skills needed for the prevention of suicide and to break the cycle of alcohol/drug addictions, as well as to give children a strong positive Native American identity, and the knowledge to make healthy choices. Oceti Wakan has developed a series of workbooks that are designed for use by children from 2nd grade to 8th grade, although the series is valuable for other ages. This culturally-based curriculum has a medicine wheel/whole body approach. Students are asked to see themselves as having four bodies: a physical one, and emotional, spiritual and mental bodies as well, each as important as the other. Our goal is to guide our beloved young people to learn the life skill tools needed to make healthy choices to ensure they live their best and healthiest life. Our curriculum’s focus is to help them understand they are each a sacred and noble being, a gift from the Creator, deserving of love and respect – and that their culture is a gift as well.

Examples of some of the things we cover:

  •  In our physical body lessons, we learn ways to prevent diabetes and other diseases, choosing healthy foods (e.g., strawberries vs. donuts) the importance of exercise, getting enough sleep, keeping our bodies, teeth and wounds clean and healthy.
  •  In our emotional body lessons, we learn to identify our feelings and how to express them appropriately. We learn how to work through the difficult ones in a healthy way so as not to have them, or the trauma associated with them, affect us for the rest of our lives. A big focus is on acquiring the tools needed to have healthy relationships.
  •  We base most of our spiritual body lessons on the four virtues of generosity, courage, fidelity and fortitude that most Native Americans value so deeply. We explore many other virtues as well. We show how they are all inside of us already. We just need to discover and develop them to be able to call on them whenever we need them.
  • In our mental body lessons, we explore ways of growing our brains, identifying our options, making good choices, and setting goals, in addition to responding to bullying, dealing with depression, the importance of enough sleep to be able to learn, problem solving, conflict resolution, and when and where to seek help. For older children, we address living in a cycle of addiction and the many effects it can have on our lives, like codependency, enabling, risky behaviors, trauma, abuse, and even suicide.

ABOUT Oceti Wakan

Oceti Wakan is a non profit organization on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.


Oceti Wakan, P O Box 1958  
Pine Ridge, SD 57770
Tel: (605) 867-6045 / (605) 454-1489 cell




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