Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Native American Health Center, Inc.: Gathering of Native Americans

The Gathering of Native Americans (GONA) youth events are implemented by two urban Indian health programs in California. The GONA curriculum engages youth in understanding the impact of historical trauma, healing from the effects, and the promotion of healthy lifestyles. The events focus on four basic themes present in most indigenous worldviews and allow communities to identify their unique resources, opportunities, and strategies for promoting spiritual and emotional balance.

The four-day GONA training is driven by the themes of belonging, mastery, interdependence, and generosity. Youth engage in developing open lines of communication, participate in discussions on historical trauma and related challenges in the community, and prioritize local community prevention efforts. The uniqueness of the strength-based GONA curriculum is the opportunity to address real-world issues that youth face while building upon the community-identified strengths, resiliency, and hope for future generations.

With funding from SAMHSA’s FY2014 Subcontracts to Build Evaluation Capacity for Evidence-Based Interventions, the Native American Health Center, Inc. will enhance the evaluation of GONA by refining the fidelity tool following the initial pilot and preparing for a GONA retrospective study over the next year. These activities will strengthen the urban Indian community’s ability to document the effectiveness of the program through multiple forms of measurement and to increase implementation fidelity. Specific activities will include:

  • Refining the GONA fidelity tool
  • Developing a research protocol for the GONA retrospective study
  • Piloting and revising the GONA retrospective study
  • Applying for Institutional Review Board approval for the GONA retrospective study


Serena Wright
Director of Community Wellness
Native American Health Center, Inc.
3124 International Blvd.
Oakland, CA 94601-2902
Phone: (510) 434-5421

Jami Bartgis
One Fire Associates, LLC
241 Kershner Road
Sand Springs, OK 74063
Phone: (918) 232-2912