Native American families, schools, and communities foster resilience among their youth who experience significant mental health disparities. To increase equity in mental health services for Native American students, it is essential that researchers employ culturally responsive community engagement when developing programs in schools. Guided by the Indigenous Evaluation Framework and Tribal Critical Race Theory, the aim of the current study was to examine our process of community engagement in the development of a culturally responsive school-based mental health program for students attending public school on the land of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. University-affiliated members of the research team who were engaged in the community-based participatory action research analyzed the process through individual reflexivity and collaborative discussions. Findings include themes of Centrality of Context and Relationships, Immersion into Community, Authentic Partnership, Storytelling and Metaphors, Community Liaison as Teacher, Cultural Broker, and Confidant, and Honoring Tribal Sovereignty. Implications for researchers and practitioners emphasize the importance of using decolonizing practices and community engagement in developing and implementing culturally responsive school-based mental health programs to increase equity for Native American youth.
- community engagement
- culturally responsive practices
- Native American
- school-based mental health