Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Native American Advocacy Program: Wicozani Patintanpi (Promoting Healthy Lifestyles)

Wicozani Patintanpi (Promoting Healthy Lifestyles), is a two-stage experiential learning program for youth ages 12- to 18-years-old which focuses on re-establishing Wolakota (Lakota way of life) by focusing on the 12 Lakota virtues known to the Seven Council Fires of the Tetowan Lakota: compassion, perseverance, sacrifice, fortitude, generosity, wisdom, love, respect, bravery, honor, humility, and truth. By strengthening youth cultural involvement and responsibility, the program promotes thoughtful behavior choices and provides youth with information and skills needed to reduce risk behaviors (e.g., alcohol and drug use, violence, suicide) born out of historical trauma and internalized oppression.

The first stage of the program is a 22-week curriculum that includes traditional Lakota arts activities, such as drum-making and regalia creations, under the supervision of program staff. Each session lasts between two and three hours and involves a hands-on activity, sharing from staff or a guest elder, games, and a closing circle to process the session’s teachings. These activities offer youth an opportunity to develop trust and positive relationships with staff.

The second stage of the program involves participation in four-day Wicoti Tiwahe cultural camps, held during the summer and fall, which offer a more intense and experiential cultural learning opportunity focusing on the 12 Lakota virtues. Activities include instruction and awareness of Lakota spirituality, prayer and home dwelling construction, and traditional food preparation, and Lakota coming of age ceremonies.

With funding from SAMHSA’s Service to Science Subcontract to Build Evaluation Capacity of Evidence-Based Interventions, program staff will enhance evaluation efforts by developing an outcome evaluation plan that is culturally relevant to the Wicozani Patintanpi prevention model and that meets the minimal standards for review by SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices. Specific activities include:

  • Contracting with an external evaluator who can provide evaluation expertise and training to the evaluation team
  • Assembling the internal members of the evaluation team, which will be responsible for managing and implementing the evaluation
  • Identifying evaluation stakeholders and their diverse needs, and determining organizations and others who may benefit from the evaluation findings
  • Drafting an evaluation mission statement and detailed outcome evaluation plan that includes a timeline for activities


Marla C. Bull Bear
Executive Director
Native American Advocacy Program
P.O. Box 527
302 East 2nd Street
Winner, South Dakota 57580-0527
Phone: (605) 842-3977