Yesterday I had the honor of presenting on Positive Community Norms with some extraordinary Native leaders. Jo Lightfeather is the Director of the Learning Center at the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center in Minneapolis. She and I met seven years ago at one of my trainings on the Science of the Positive and norms-based prevention strategies. Since then, she has been instrumental in developing Native projects based upon the Science of the Positive, and has initiated trainings for tribes across Minnesota. We were joined by Tom and Karen Barrett from the Red Lake Nation, who shared how Positive Community Norms has become a powerful framework for honoring tribal cultures and organizing events that build on the tremendous strengths that already exist in people, land, and drum.
We organized our workshop around the Science of the Positive Cycle of Spirit, Science, Action and Return:
1. SPIRIT: Explore of the science-of-the-positive process, and the positive community norms (PCN) framework as hope-based ways to increase resilience by honoring Native cultures;
2. SCIENCE: Understand science-based elements involved with planning successful normative interventions that align with Native values;
3. ACTION: Identify practical ways that PCN strategies have been used on the Red Lake Nation to grow culturally- based protective factors;
4. RETURN: Reflect upon ideas regarding the data, people and resources that are needed to implement positive community norms strategies in diverse programs and environments.
It was a terrific event, but we are still just scratching the surface of how the Science of the Positive can be used to honor and grow tribal strengths. Jo and I are currently designing a resilience-building Digital Storytelling Curriculum for Native Youth based on the Science of the Positive that we will pilot-test this June. And I look forward to working with Tom and Karen again soon.