Youth GONA 2023

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We hope you enjoy these pictures and video from our GONA held August 11-13. More about what is a GONA can be found further on in this posting.

Some of the highlights pictured include:  being formed into clans and making a team name/banner. As clans they wrote and performed a song or cheer. Throughout the weekend the GONA facilitators and participants had their pictures posted and were encouraged to write affirmations on each one. At the end, the facilitators read aloud the affirmations as they were given out to each participant.We were fortunate to have dancers to help bring the gathering to a closing.

We want to thank everyone that participated that weekend: the Community, the AIHFS staff and our GONA facilitators – Hunter Genia (Anishinaabe), Josh Schuyler (Oneida) and Jacelyn Salabye (Dine’).


What is a GONA?

A GONA is a culture-based planning process where community members gather to address community-identified issues. It uses an interactive approach that empowers and supports AI/AN tribes. The GONA approach reflects AI/AN cultural values, traditions, and spiritual practices.

The GONA focuses on the following four themes:

  • Belonging—the GONA ensures that everyone feels welcomed in an inclusive, open, safe, and trusting environment
  • Mastery—the GONA allows participants to take stock of how historical trauma impacts their communities and what fosters their resilience and holds them together
  • Interdependence—the GONA initiates the planning process to assess resources and relationships, and to experience and strengthen interconnectedness
  • Generosity—the GONA exercise of creating gifts to share with other participants symbolizes each participant’s larger gift to their families and communities in helping to address and prevent mental and substance use disorders, prevent suicide, and promote mental health
Be sure to watch for our next GONA!

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Melbourne, Australia
(Sat - Thursday)
(10am - 05 pm)