Native Nonprofit Teaches "The Good Road of Life" Fatherhood Curriculum

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Corrales, New Mexico, Native Prevention, Research, Intervention, Development, and Education (PRIDE) works throughout the United States “to develop and implement culture, strengths and spiritual based programs for Native people that inspire leadership, healing and wellness from colonization and multigenerational trauma.”

Young Native men have some of the highest risk factors in the country for substance abuse, violence, depression and suicide. Native PRIDE believes these issues stem from Native men having “lost the sacred connection to their cultural identity and roles.” The breakdown of a positive male presence threatens the well-being of Native children, and at worst, tears families apart.

To address this, Native PRIDE developed a unique culturally-based fatherhood curriculum and project titled “The Good Road of Life: Responsible Fatherhood,” which it delivered across the country through an Administration for Native Americans Strengthening Families grant.

The project staff delivered 10 “The Good Road of Life” seminars in five tribal communities, reaching 895 people, including men and their families. Pre- and post-evaluations of participants indicate that men who completed the program developed enlightened self-awareness of their relationships with their own fathers and families and learned about “letting go,” communication skills and forgiveness. Men with substance abuse or domestic violence issues received education and counseling to start addressing these issues.

In addition to the seminars, Native PRIDE also hosted four national Training of Trainers (TOT) workshops in “The Good Road of Life,” certifying 242 people to spread the curriculum in their communities. Many of the Native communities hosting the TOT sessions integrated the curriculum into their social programs and will now be hosting annual fatherhood events. Several tribal colleges, New Mexico State University, the Indian Boys and Girls Clubs of America, along with several mental health programs, have also integrated the curriculum into their work.

Native PRIDE also conducted a comprehensive public advertising campaign on strengthening families and responsible fatherhood, which included presentations at the National Indian Education Association Conference in Albuquerque, the National Congress of American Indians Conference in Portland, the Lakota Nation Invitational in Rapid City, and the New Mexico Counselors Association in Albuquerque. Native PRIDE also assisted in replicating “Fatherhood is Sacred Day” activities at eight trainings in six states.

Over time, Native communities implementing the curriculum should see a reduction of referrals to social services, counseling services, substance abuse programs, and incarceration due to domestic violence. As a result of the project, Native families have more involved spouses, fathers, sons, and brothers, who can draw on sources of cultural strength to be positive male role models in their communities.