Every year, partners in the field of child and family advocacy and policy recognize the NICWA Protecting Our Children Conference as the pre-eminent gathering of child advocacy experts, practitioners, and advocates in Indian Country. As a result, our conference welcomes a number of concurrent events each year, from federal listening sessions, to adult adoptee gatherings, to children’s mental health meetings.
Below is information from the 41st Annual Conference.
Annual Membership Meeting
Sunday, April 2, 2023
7:00 p.m.–8:30 p.m. Pacific Time
As is customary, NICWA will kick off the Protecting Our Children Conference with our annual membership meeting. This Sunday evening gathering is a special time to reconnect with friends after three years of virtual conferences and to expand your network with new colleagues. At the annual membership meeting you’ll enjoy yummy desserts and hear updates from our board of directors about NICWA’s program work, advocacy, and financial position. The slate of nominees for the board of directors will be presented, and our brand new five-year strategic plan goals will be rolled out.
We’ll share with you our vision for the new member relations manager position, an integral part of NICWA’s program department, which takes the lead on all of our community development, public policy, and research work. The new member relations manager will help NICWA to develop a process for ongoing listening to our members. We’ll create regular opportunities for members to identify emerging issues, highlight program and practice strategies, share resources, and identify challenges that they need help addressing. Additionally, we’ll intentionally draw on all of the information that members share with us to inform our advocacy priorities and strategies, resources we develop, our workforce training opportunities, our conference programming, and funding proposals to support work that is meaningful and of benefit to you.
Gathering for Adoptees, Former Foster Children, and Their Birth Relatives
Monday, April 3, 2023
6:00 p.m.–9:00 p.m. Pacific Time
On the evening of Monday, April 3, First Nations Repatriation Institute Founder and Director Sandy White Hawk will facilitate a special meeting intended for American Indian and Alaska Native adoptee, former foster children, and their birth parents. Birth parents are those parents whose children were adopted out. Birth relatives are those relatives who have a sibling, cousin, or other relative who is adopted out or in foster care. All are welcome and dinner will be provided.
National Day of Prayer for Native Children
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
7:30 a.m.–8:15 a.m. Pacific Time
As advocates for Native children gather for NICWA’s 41st Annual Conference, we invite Native communities and our partners nationwide to join together in a National Day of Prayer for Native Children. Please join us for this respectful gathering, or host a safe, socially distanced event in your community to demonstrate support for all Native children.
Chehalis Basketry as a Healing Art
Tuesday, April 4, 2023
1:30 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Join master weaver, educator, and founding member of the Hazel Peete Institute of Chehalis Basketry Yvonne Peterson, Sage Jackson, and Haniah Welch for this exciting workshop. Chehalis basketry is a sit-beside art—cultural sharing is a healing aspect of weaving. Participants have an opportunity to work with cedar and sweet grass to weave a basketry pouch. Traditional teachings are incorporated into the workshop and an honoring of ancestors who worked to reclaim Indigenous basketry gathering, processing, storage of weaving materials, and teachings are highlighted. There is a $50 fee in addition to registration payable on-site. Checks may be made out to the National Indian Child Welfare Association. Funds from this workshop are used to support the adoptee gathering sponsored by Sandy White Hawk.
Visit the Native Youth Justice Community of Practice Network
Visit the Exhibitors
The Association on American Indian Affairs Native Youth Justice Community of Practice is a network of Native Country youth justice and youth staff workers that share knowledge, strategize, collaborate, and build best practices to support and keep youth out of detention and provide culturally appropriate alternatives in line with appropriate values and traditions. Visit the Association’s booth at the NICWA conference to learn more and to join the Community of Practice!
Post-Conference Training Institutes
Stick around after the conference to participate in our intensive training institutes. Learn how the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 remains among the most important federal laws guiding child welfare today. Or complete our Positive Indian Parenting train-the-trainer institute so you can return home equipped to offer this training to your community.