Regional Youth Treatment Center opens in Davis for Native Americans


The new Sacred Oaks Healing Center will provide culturally appropriate addiction treatment and behavioral health care for American Indians and Alaska Natives.

DAVIS, Calif. — The Indian Health Service joined more than 100 Native American tribes in California on Friday for the grand opening of a youth health and wellness center in Davis.

Sacred Oaks Healing Center is a new regional youth treatment center that provides culturally appropriate treatment for substance use disorders and behavioral health to Native Americans and Alaska Natives ages 12-17 .

Kletsel Dehe Wintun Nation Tribal Chairman Charlie Wright said the treatment center can address the historic traumas that indigenous youth face.

“For tribal people, we have this balance between respecting others when we’re on their territory, but also staying who we are,” he said. “(The center) reflects the uniqueness of our region, our climate and our region.”

Kashia Band of Pomo Indians President Reno Keoni Franklin said tribal children have historically been sent out of state to regional addiction and mental health treatment centers.

Sacred Oaks Healing Center is helping end this practice, Franklin said.

“It’s really about restoring families – so we’re very happy that (the centre) is being built,” he said.

Until recently, many tribes in the region had to travel long distances to southern California, Oregon and Nevada.

“Over a hundred years of historic trauma on Indigenous families, and we haven’t had the ability to take our children to regional treatment centers,” Franklin said.

Tribal lands can also be physically isolated.

“Sometimes there’s less opportunity, sometimes there’s more influence from people who have gone through historical trauma and are suffering from it and haven’t found healthy ways to deal with it,” he said. Franklin said.

Franklin also said the center has a unique character based on its culture, traditional knowledge and ecological knowledge. He said the culture is also reflected in the center’s design and artifacts.

Administrators said there are currently two youth in care and five have completed the program with more admissions coming soon.

The center offers a mixed residential environment for 32 young people with an average treatment duration of four months. All potential residents must be diagnosed with a primary substance disorder by an approved provider. Treatment services include family therapy, a fitness program, cultural activities and counselling.

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