Call for Presentations

Presenters at NICWA’s 41st Annual Protecting Our Children Conference are the heart and soul of this annual event, recognized as the premiere national gathering dedicated to tribal child welfare and well-being. This year’s conference will be held on April 2–5, 2023. This year, we will host more than fifty 90-minute presentations, which are selected to lead vigorous dialogue about best practices, current research, advocacy efforts, policy implications, and other lessons learned with over 1,200 conference attendees. Call for Presentations are now closed and presenters will be notified February 1, 2023. 

About the Theme

Healing Our Spirits: Nurturing and Restoring Hope

As Indigenous peoples, we know a lot about healing. Healing is culturally specific and nonlinear. It happens collectively with our families and communities. It’s not all or nothing, but a life-long journey of reestablishing our balance. Healing starts with truth telling and feeling all of our feelings because we’re strong enough to feel them and survive. We have ways of commemorating loss, grieving, focusing on survival, and expressing gratitude for our ancestors. Our cultures guide us to heal ourselves, our families, and our communities. Through healing ourselves, we can stop the transmission of intergenerational trauma, help families heal together, and protect our children.     

Often healing is a natural consequence of culture, relationships, spirituality, and the balance across our mind, body, spirit, and context. We can also intentionally facilitate healing for ourselves and others. Each Indigenous nation’s cultural teachings originated and evolved with our ancestors who were connected with our natural environment and the spiritual realms with teachings that the people needed at the time to survive and thrive. Today, those teachings still exist in many tribes, and even for those whose culture has been devastated or diminished by colonization, they have access to the same spiritual realm that gave the teachings to our ancestors.

Tribal teachings about healing share common elements. Love matters. Culture matters. Our children and elders matter. Keep the ceremonies and recognize the importance of being who we are as groups of human beings. Culture, hope, safety, gratitude, respect, laughter, our medicines, the land, truth, tears, stories, honesty, trust, generosity, spirituality, courage, wisdom, kindness, faith, and love all heal us and are all intertwined. Living these and embedding them in our policies, service structures, practice models, and daily work is the challenge.

In times of uncertainty and stress, when we lose balance and a sense of well-being, we come together in small and large groups. We gather our energy, share burdens and joys, and reaffirm the indispensable truth that we are here and will continue to be here. We are healing ourselves for ourselves, for the seven generations before us, and for the seven generations to come.  

About the Workshops

The highly competitive selection process aims to select presenters who represent an expertise and mastery of innovative and effective developments in these key areas:

  • Children’s Mental Health
  • Child Welfare, Foster Care, and Adoption Services
  • Judicial and Legal Affairs
  • Youth and Family Involvement

Registration Requirement

All presenters of selected workshops are required to register for the conference. NICWA offers a reduced registration rate for up to three presenters per workshop. You may register at the presenter rate once your workshop has been accepted. Additional presenters must register at the prevailing rate. By submitting a proposal, presenters agree to pay registration.

The richness of our conference is a direct reflection of the diversity of presenters who come to share their experience and contributions to the field. NICWA truly values a wide representation of presenters from varied backgrounds and communities.