Cultural Sensitivity Position Statement

The Arlee Rehabilitation Center acknowledges that the land of the Flathead Indian Reservation upon which it stands comprised the traditional seasonal grounds of the Kootenai, Salish and Pend d’Oreille people, continues to be their legitimate home and was the site of traumatic personal and political events that continue to leave their mark on the consciousness, psyche and economy of its modern native residents. This includes not only known historical incidents like the 1904 Flathead Allotment Act but also countless unknown personal incidents that happened to real people in specific places that continue to be haunted by the stories and memories to this day.

We commit to take the implications of this history seriously. For one, this calls for respect for cultural differences and traditions and sensitivity to the psychological effects of historical trauma. It means that the native community carries the inordinate burden of the accumulated history of political and cultural persecution, and A.R.C. hopes to compensate, is a small way, for that history by predominantly (although not exclusively) serving the Tribal community members of the Flathead Indian Reservation who need support.

Further, ARC pledges a proactive effort at every opportunity to recruit, hire, involve and embrace native community members so that they have an active role not only in the daily operations but also in the envisioning and governance of the organization. This reflects an acknowledgment that Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille people need and deserve empowerment and autonomy rather than paternalism or help.

Finally, ARC will seek to shape its programs in a manner that is culturally relevant and reflects the specific needs, customs and understandings of Tribal residents, not to exclude other exogenous ideas.

We are grateful for the opportunity to launch and build a project on a Reservation that is uniquely well endowed with Tribal governance, infrastructure, business and community organization. We see this as a launchpad for building a powerful NGO that will serve its own community and ultimately serve as an example inspiring and supporting similar efforts on other Reservations within our region and beyond.

Whereas it is recognized that any genuinely helpful initiative on any Reservation must integrally involve the resident Tribes, must gain their participation, trust and buy-in, must meaningfully benefit their communities and listen to their indigenous voices in identifying needs, and must create opportunities for their community members to have some ownership over the implementation of programs in the form of participation on all levels (i.e., Board of Directors, Officers, Staff, volunteers, beneficiaries, etc.), we have adopted the adjacent Cultural Sensitivity Position Statement, which must be endorsed by every Director, Employee and Agent of ARC.