Fort Berthold, Standing Rock, Spirit Lake, and Turtle Mountain Indian Reservations, North Dakota

Initial Funding:

October, 1997


The mission statement and guiding philosophy for the Project are “To join with families to ensure that all children grow naturally in mind, body, spirit, and emotions” and “Every Child is sacred; it is the teaching of our ancestors to embrace each child in unconditional love and caring, and to enable them to become what they were intended to be by the Creator,” respectively. At a broad, system level, the SCP aims to catalyze efforts at each site to expand the service array available to Native children with emotional and/or behavioral challenges. At the direct service delivery level, the project plans to serve 90 families at a time, and about 100 per year over the life of the grant. The Project also plans to model and publicly share information about a family-focused, culturally competent way of working with Native families, in hopes that other providers will adopt this approach. Finally, the project hopes to train indigenous community members to become providers. The Native American Children and Families Services Training Institute (as supported by the Bush Foundation, tribal social services, and the North Dakota Department of Child and Family Services) is developing an associate degree and certification program for providers to work with challenged youth and families in need.


Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in western North Dakota has a tribal council of seven members. According to the 1990 census, approximately 2,999 Indian people lived on the reservation. Located south of Bismarck and west of the Missouri River, the Standing Rock Indian Reservation covers 2.3 million acres extending into South Dakota. The reservation is made up of a variety of districts but most services and tribal government are located at Fort Yates. A tribal council with 17 members governs the reservation. According to the 1990 census, approximately 2,836 Indian people lived on the North Dakota side of the reservation. Spirit Lake Reservation is located north and east of Bismarck, near Spirit Lake. A tribal council with 6 members governs the reservation. According to the 1990 census, approximately 2,676 Indian people lived on the reservation Turtle Mountain is located in the extreme north of North Dakota in Rolette County, near the Canadian border. The tribal council has 9 members (8 representatives and one chairman). According to the 1990 census, approximately 7,000 Indian people lived on the reservation. The target population for the Sacred Child Project is defined as children under the age of 22 years who have a serious emotional challenge, diagnosable as severe emotional disturbance. The child must be at imminent risk of out-of-home placement or already be placed out of the home. Service needs must involve two or more community agencies. During 99, Sacred Child has served 87 children and youth from the four reservations and one Indian Service Area.


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