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Motivational Interviewing and Culture for Urban Native American Youth (MICUNAY)

Empowering Native American Youth

MICUNAY is our program empowering American Indian/Native American youth with comprehensive understaing of substance use disorder, and weachieve this by ultilzing the concept of the medicine wheel along with incorporating various Native American traditions, smuge ceremonies, and prayer.  

Elevate Native American Youth

Youth Empowerment

Youth are encouraged to share their thoughts and feedback. Strong focus on having fellow youth led workshops to fellow peers and support in development of their own voices. 

Cultural Led Support 

Workshops focus on understanding substance use disorder and building resilience from utilizing the concept of the Medicine Wheel and exploration of the three vital domains of life guided by the Medicine Wheel while incorporating various Native American traditions, including smuge ceremonies, prayer, and beading. 

Systematic Change

We recognize that the the War on Drugs is a direct result of systemic racism, which has led to inequity in health systems and criminalization of youth in low income communities and communities of color and we address the negative affects drugs and other substance abuse can have on our spirituality, physical, and mental well being.

Building upon our existing relationships with other AI/AN agencies and the AIAN youth we have worked with, we place a strong emphasis on the voices and feedback of our youth. Through dedicated youth listening sessions, we ensure that their perspectives are heard and incorporated into our program.


MICUNAY, our curriculum designed specifically for 14-18 year olds, consists of three 2-hour workshops. Workshop 1 focuses on the effects of alcohol and other drugs (AOD) on healthy brain functioning. In Workshop 2, teens are encouraged to reflect on their own willingness and confidence to change behaviors that may negatively impact their well-being or to maintain their path of not using substances. Workshop 3 delves into how AOD use can influence the spiritual aspect of life. Teens are presented with different risk scenarios, prompting them to make thoughtful decisions regarding AOD use. Each workshop incorporates AI/AN traditional practices, including storytelling, cooking, and AI/AN prayer utilizing sage.


At Elevate Youth CA, we are dedicated to empowering AI/AN youth across California, promoting substance use disorder prevention, and fostering a deeper understanding of the challenges they face. Join us on this transformative journey as we elevate our youth, one workshop at a time.

MICUNAY is offered virtually through Zoom. We have witnessed a high rate of youth involvement, engagement, and follow-through with all workshops. By embracing the virtual realm, we overcome the transportation barriers that often hinder youth participation in urban areas like Los Angeles. Our virtual workshops enable us to reach a wider audience and extend our impact to more youth in need.

Motivational Interviewing and Culture for Urban Native American Youth (MICUNAY) is funded by Elevate Youth California a statewide program supporting community leaders who are addressing substance use disorder by investing in the youth leadership development and activism and of youth of color and 2s/LGBTQ + youth ages 12-26. This initiative is made possible by the generous funding provided by The Center at Sierra Health Foundation, in partnership with the State of California’s Department of Health Care Services, through Proposition 64, California Cannabis Tax Fund, Allocation 3, Youth Education Prevention Early Intervention and Treatment Account.