SaltFire creates and provides mental health services that center indigenous values and an indigenous worldview. Saltfire also acts as a partner hub for various groups and organizations led by people of color.

Healing of the Canoe

The Healing of the Canoe program began as a research collaboration between the Suquamish Tribe, the Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe and the University of Washington. The tribes both identified prevention of youth substance abuse and the need for cultural belonging and revitalization as primary issues of concern. The Healing of the Canoe partnership created the Culturally Grounded Life Skills for Youth Curriculum to address these issues. 

The curriculum uses the Canoe Journey as a metaphor for life, providing skills to help youth navigate life’s journey without being pulled off course by alcohol or drugs – using tribal culture and values as compass and anchor. It is a community based curriculum, incorporating tribal strengths and resources.

The Healing of the Canoe program, based in Suquamish, now provides training and consultation to other tribal communities who seek to adapt and implement the curriculum. Visit the Healing of the Canoe website for more information.

Leadership Enrichment Arts Program

The Leadership Enrichment Arts Program (LEAP) is a curriculum-based program that uses the performing arts to help student learn about mental health and express positive alternatives to the social issues in their communities. The purpose of LEAP is to inspire positive social change and improve the social emotional/interpersonal skills of youth by building personal dignity and ethical conduct through safe opportunities leading to insight, social justice and compassion.

SaltFire is currently bringing LEAP into the Suquamish Tribal Community school,  tailoring the program to reflect indigenous values, and connect to indigenous culture through storytelling and the performing arts. Topics that will be addressed include mental health and mental illness, social justice, violence, gender conflict, and drug and alcohol abuse.