Jodi Rave: Games help Native youth tackle tough topics

"Leslie Hale-Hammerberg, a certified therapeutic foster parent, has invented board games to help Native youths talk about what happens in their world.

It's hard for kids to talk about suicide, bullying, pregnancy and sexual abuse.

“But we have to talk about it,” she said. “Nothing is off limits. When you can talk about it, it goes away because then you find solutions. It's only when one carries that burden of not talking about it, it goes all bad.”

She has worked with children of all ages to help them think, feel and act, and to care, share and be responsible.

“Rez Got Game” - a set of four games intended to be used under adult supervision - is being embraced by counselors, psychologists, mental health practitioners and Native family advocates across the country.

“It's the right time, there's nothing like it anywhere,” said Glenda Ahhaitty, a retired Los Angeles County mental health director. “It's a really good tool for mental health professionals who are working with Indian children. It will work for all children.”

Ahhaitty is referring “Rez Got Game” to child advocates because games like Tipi Dancer, Eagle Dancer and Dove Dancer achieve “cultural competency.”

Most other tools are aimed at non-Natives, she said."

Get the Story:
Jodi Rave: Games teach Native kids to tackle tough topics (The Missoulian 5/5)

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