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Igniting the Warrior Spirit

Calling upon the Warrior Spirit, inspired by Our Creator, to heal historical trauma among Native Americans through indigenous wisdom


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What Drives Us

Our Mission

The conferences address the causes and effects of historical and childhood trauma and ways the different institutions on Indian Nations in the Four Corners areas can use a combination of western trauma-informed approaches and traditional healing practices, guided by the Warrior Spirit, to address the many serious problems caused by trauma.
A major emphasis of this event is recognizing that western medicine and traditional healing are necessary components for Indigenous populations to effectively heal themselves through a holistic culturally sensitive approach built into programs, services, and systems.
Health care professionals, scientists, and traditional healers know that many of the problems present in Indian Country, such as suicide, substance abuse, domestic violence, family break-up, high rates of high school drop-outs, obesity, and diabetes are the result of the trauma caused by of over 500 years of death, destruction, and disruption in the Indigenous way of life. Traditional healers advise that “historical trauma” is a condition, and the Warrior Spirit, a healing force available to remedy this condition for Native people.

Past Events

Dan Press.  Founder of the Roundtable on Native American Trauma Informed Intiatives, presenting at the Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony at Alpine, California, October 2018.

Wolf Diaz, playing the flute at the Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony in Alpine, California, October 2018.

Anya Ashley (right) and her sisters at the Kumeyaay Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony.  Anya was a presenter on the elder/youth panel.

Conference participants brainstorming future plans at the Kumeyaay Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony in Alpine, California, October 2018

Ralynn Bitchily, performing at the Kumeyaay Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony in Alpine, California, October 2018.

Prosper Waukon, elder, presenting on Indigenous Leadership at the Kumeyaay Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony in Alpine, California, October 2018.

Dr. Anthony Pico, Chairman of the Planning Team that organized the Kumeyaay Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony in Alpine, California, October 2018.

Kenneth G. White Jr., CEO, Native Heatlh Care Solutions LLC, opening Kumeyaay Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony in Alpine, California, October 2018.

Tamara Strohauer, San Diego State University, Kumeyaay Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony Planning Team Member

Andy Miritello, Certified Equine Therapy Specialists, presenting at Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, Sacatoon, Arizona, April 2018.

Roanna Shebala, Spoken Word Artist, sharing her poetry at Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, Sacatoon, Arizona, April 2018.

Elder/Youth Panel at Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, Sacatoon, Arizona, April 2018.

Dennis Alto, Kumeyaay spiritual leader; Ken White, CEO, Native Health Care Solutions LLC; and Anthony Pico, Kumeyaay Leader at Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, Sacatoon, Arizona, April 2018.

Dr. Joseph Martin, Professor at Northern Arizona University, presenting on creating trauma-informed school systems, at Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, Sacatoon, Arizona, April 2018.

Therese Yanan, Attorney, Native American Disability Law Center, Farmington, New Mexico, presenting on ongoing lawsuit impacting students effected by trauma at Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, Sacatoon, Arizona, April 2018.

Linda Eagle, speaker; Matt Erb, Noshene Ranjbar; Donna LaChapelle, Center for Mind Body Spirit, presenters at Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, Sacatoon, Arizona, April 2018.

Anya Ashley, presenter and Lula Bia, educator, taking in Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, Sacatoon, Arizona, April 2018.

Andy Miritello, Equine Therapy Specialists and Prosper Waukon, Indigenous Leadership Wisdom Keeper, presenters Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, April 2018.

Richard Tailwood, Jr. with brother Alvin, Elder/Youth panel member at Sacaton Warrior Conference and Ceremony, April 2018.

Upcoming Events

Four Corner Warrior Spirit Conference and Ceremony

Navajo Nation Museum Auditorium
Window Rock, Arizona

April 4-5, 2019

Early Bird Registration: $105 before March 15, 2019
Regular Registration $ 130 after March 15, 2019
Youth Registration: $30
Elders – Age 60 years and older: Free*

*As wisdom keepers with life experience, we will provide our Elders (individuals 60 or older) from tribal affiliation/organizations complimentary admission and a seat of honor throughout this two-day event.

Elders Register by Phone: 505-566-5880

For more information, please email:

Hotel Reservation can be made at the Quality Inn, Window Rock, Az.

Wednesday, April 3rd

April 3 - Evening

6pm – 8pm Conference Meet and Greet Session
& Special Presentations (Quality Inn)

6:15pm – 7:15pm Handing Off the Warrior Spirit Movement from the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians to the Dine’ Conference and Ceremony

7:15pm – 8pm Igniting the Warrior Spirit
through Media Resources

Thursday, April 4th

April 4 - morning

8am – 8:30am Posting of the Colors & Opening Prayer

8:30am – 9am Welcome & Introductions

9am – 9:30am Igniting the Warrior Spirit

9:30am – 10:30am Keynote: Healing Historical Trauma

10:30am – 11am Goals & Objectives of the Conference and Ceremony

11am – 12:15pm Healing – Elder/Young Adult Panel

12:15pm – 1pm Lunch – Special Entertainment

April 4 - Afternoon

1pm – 1:45pm Building an Indigenous Trauma Informed Education System

1:45pm – 3:15pm Panel Discussion – Input & Recommendations for Building a Trauma Informed School System

3:15pm – 3:45pm Litigation update – Declaring Trauma as a Disability

3:45pm – 5pm Next Steps to Promote Trauma – Informed Schools

6pm – 8pm Men’s Sweat Lodge & Women’s Talking Circle

Friday, April 5th

April 5 - Morning

8am – 8:15am Opening Prayer

8:15am – 9:30am Indian Health Service Pediatric Integrated Care Collaborative (PICC) Panel

9:30am – 10:15am Center on American Indian Health – The Family Spirit Program

10:15am – 11am Combining Western Medicine and Traditional Healing Circle

11am – 12pm Panel Discussion – How Do We Promote Trauma Informed Health Care on the Dine’ Nation

12pm – 1pm Lunch – Special Entertainment

April 5 - Afternoon

1pm – 1:45pm Transforming Trauma through Community Based Mind Body Spirit Approach

1:45pm – 2:30pm Harm Reduction & Overdose Prevention Strategies for Community Resilience

2:30pm – 3:15pm Navajo Peacemaker

3:15pm – 4pm Wind River: Providing a Unique Environment of Healing and Supportive Recovery

4pm – 5:30pm Presentation and Interactive Session (all conference participants): Action Planning for the Future

5:30pm Closing Prayer

6pm – 8pm Women’s Sweat Lodge & Men’s Talking Circle


Articles & Handbooks


Please click the button below to view the handbook


Readdressing first nations historical trauma: Theorizing mechanisms for indigenous culture as mental health

Please click the button below to read more


Rethinking historical trauma

Please click the button below to read more


Trauma and learning policy initiative (TLPI): Trauma-sensitive schools descriptive study

Please click the button below to read more

By kenneth g. White Jr.

The Warrior Spirit

All Native Americans have the Warrior Spirit within themselves; it is a gift from God Almighty. Some people recognize they have it, some don’t. All females or males are true Warriors in Native society.

The Warrior Spirit is a physical, mental, and spiritual state of being, and way of life. It unconditionally recognizes, honors, and embraces one’s Native American essence; identity; and historical and traditional foundation.

The Warrior Spirit is an intrinsic, all encompassing, embedded character, behavior, and spiritual way of humbling and empowering oneself through the recognition, awareness, and application of self respect, and the prayers, language, and traditions of our ancestors.

The Warrior Spirit is a universal unwavering duty and responsibility to meet the needs and ensure the wellness of Native people and Mother Earth as defined by the Great Spirit from the beginning of time, to today, and in the future.

The Warrior Spirit never sleeps or rests; it is always awake, vibrant, and ready to take on any new challenge.

The Warrior Spirit is righteous and full of grace and power.

The Warrior Spirit never gives up until the goal is completed.

Find, embrace, and celebrate the Warrior Spirit within you.

About Us

Our Founders

Kenneth G. White JR.

Mr. Kenneth G. White Jr. is Chief Executive Officer of the Native Health Care Solutions, LLC, a health care management firm located in Flagstaff, Arizona. Mr. White holds a Masters’ Degree in Social Work and Certificate in Gerontology from Arizona State University.  Kenneth has over 30 years of experience working in health care development, elder care, managed care, and traditional healing to generate the capability and capacity of tribes and organizations to finance, administer, manage and operate health care projects, programs, and services.
He has a unique expertise with tribal, state and federal laws and contracts related to funding, project management, fiscal and strategic analysis, coding, compliance, third party revenue generation, and long-term care and hospital administration. Ken founded the first Warrior Spirit conference and ceremony by developing and initiating the event in Sacaton, AZ., based upon advice to create an Indigenous holistic healing model through prayer from his Mom, Mary Lou White.  Kenneth is an accomplished, published author for the benefit of Indigenous populations.  Mr. White’s primary interest is offering his expertise and knowledge to Indigenous populations by advocating and assisting tribal governments, organizations, and needy populations receive the care, services, programs, facilities and funding they deserve.  His work is dedicated to his Dad, Mr. Kenneth G. White Sr.

Dan press

For over 40 years, Dan Press has provided legal and Washington representation assistance to Indian tribes, Indian organizations, and companies doing business with tribes. Dan assists tribes with strengthening their tribal governments by helping them develop
and implement ordinances that exercise the tribe’s sovereign authority in such areas as employment rights and labor relations.  He has also counseled tribes to obtain legislation awarding them hundreds of millions of dollars in land claims settlements, new health facilities, and new authority to promote employment on their reservations. He has special knowledge of Indian land issues, including rights of ways and leases on Indian land and the unique legal issues that arise when doing business on reservations and assisted companies negotiate various agreements with tribes regarding land use.  Mr. Press is also an adjunct professor at Columbia University, where he teaches undergraduate courses on current issues facing Indian tribes including Issues in Tribal Government and Native American Economic Development. He also co-taught an original course called The Holocaust and Genocide in America in which the students examined these two genocidal events and the way the United States government and public have treated each in recent years.

Dr. Decoteau

Dr. DeCoteau, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, obtained a doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology in 2003 from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with specialization in the cognitive-behavioral treatment of anxiety disorders for adults, adolescents and children. Dr. De Coteau is a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practitioner. TBRI is a therapeutic model that trains caregivers to provide effective support for at-risk children. She is also trained in various other trauma treatment modalities including EMDR, somatic processing, attachment intervention, NMT (neurosequential model of therapeutics), and TF-CBT. Dr. De Coteau has extensive experience working with patients who suffer from complex trauma, neurodevelopmental disorders, grief, anxiety, depression, and suicidal thinking. Dr. DeCoteau has worked in a variety of outpatient settings and with a diverse patient population, including Veterans and Native Americans. She received the Indian Health Service 2009 Health Professional of the Year Award for outstanding service and the American Psychological Foundation 2010 Early Career Award for providing culturally competent practice techniques for Native Americans and for developing training programs in rural, underserved areas. This year Dr. DeCoteau was appointed by a member of the U.S. congress to serve the Commission on Native Children to help address the challenges faced by Native children. Aside from clinical work, Dr. DeCoteau has given numerous lectures on how trauma impacts attachment and brain development, in-school strategies for working with traumatized children, and historical trauma. She is a long-standing member of the American Psychological Association, an enrolled member of the Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara Nation and a descendant of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa.

Our Team Members

prosper waukon

Prosper is an accomplished businessman, indigenous leadership facilitator, Indian youth specialist, management/employee team development, program & community coalition building, organizational strategist, human resources diversity consultant. He has held 17 directorships for 17 different organizations in the public and private sectors, the majority of which have been with Indian programs. He has served as an officer on 22 community, city and state boards. He incorporated and was the President/CEO of four profit making businesses and founding member of five non-profits. Prosper has over 40 years of leadership & management experience, 28 years of those years, managing, restructuring, and transforming Indian organizations and businesses into peak performing self-managed teams. In 2002 Prosper returned to live and work on the Winnebago Indian Reservation in Nebraska where he grew up and to raise his two grandchildren, Takotah Spirit (10 mos.) and Ciarrah Reine (4.5 yrs.). Prosper formed the Ho-Chunk & Hope Coalition, a coalition of tribal organizations, chartered the first Boys & Girls Club for tribe, developed the Project Step-Up program, a technical and educational career development program, and assisted in tribal planning, reporting directly to the tribal chair.  In August of 2012, Prosper and his wife Jan Waukon, along with their two grandchildren, Takotah and Ciarrah relocated to Oracle, Arizona where Prosper formed a business with partner Rick Turner to incorporate, The Pros-Turn HVAC Consulting, L.L.C. Prosper was hired by Gila River Indian Community, Employment & Training Department as a trainer for a pilot program, Career Pathways. He was later hired as a TERO (Tribal Employment Rights Ordinance) Compliance Officer for the tribe. Prosper currently resides in Tucson and has recently retired from the Gila River Indian Community in Sacaton, Arizona. Prosper currently does consultant work for Indian programs.


Anthony R. Pico served as chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians for 26 of the last 30 years. He is nationally recognized as an authority and leader on American Indian sovereignty, self-governance, Indian gaming and tribal economic development. He has been a strong voice for Indian self-reliance, economic development, and diversification of reservation economies.  Anthony has received numerous international, national, state, and regional awards for leadership achievements, business, and as a humanitarian. He has been an influential spokesman for gaming, sovereignty, and self-governance issues. He has been the subject of a number of documentaries such as Frontline, Forefront and German and Dutch Public Television. He has been featured in Fortune Magazine, USA Today, and Business Week, International Gaming & Wagering Magazine, and Casino Executive Magazine. Anthony Pico has an Associates of Arts Degree from Grossmont College where in 2000 he received the honor of Outstanding Alumni. He has an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Long Island University, New York. Anthony is very proud of his military record where he served in Vietnam as an Army Paratrooper in the infantry, where he received a number of distinguished service medals. He is married to his beautiful wife Diana. He has two sons of whom he is very proud, John Elliott, who is serving in his 11th year as Tribal Councilman of The Manzanita Band of Kumeyaay Indians, and Tommy Pico, an author who resides in Brooklyn, NY. York.

Anya Ashley

Anya Ashley is a proud member of the Dine’ Nation. She introduces herself respectfully. Dibe lizhini nishlii doo Kinyaa’aanii ba shishchiin. To dich’iinii ei dashicheii doo Ta’baahi ei dashinali. Akot’eego, Dine asdzani nishli. Shima ei Veronica Ashley wolyee doo shizhe’e ei Ambrose Ashley wolye. She is of the Black Sheep clan born for the Towering House clan. Her maternal grandfather’s clan is Bitter Water and her paternal grandfather’s clan is Waters Edge.
In this way she represents herself as a young Navajo woman. Her mother’s name is Veronica Ashley and father’s name is Ambrose Ashley. Anya is an advocate for Indigenous communities. She believes our generational traumas have continued to impact our communities with the effects of suicide, drug abuse, domestic violence, etc. However, through her own transformational healing process by combining both Traditional and Western ways of knowing she is optimistic about Indigenous Peoples fight to heal.
Presently, Anya resides at home within the four sacred mountains of Dinetah. She plans to continue working and living on the Navajo Nation. Anya has her Bachelors Degree in Public Health from the University of Arizona and her Master’s Degree in Counseling from San Diego State University.


Matt erb

Matt Erb is a faculty member and clinical supervisor with The Center for Mind-Body Medicine and founder of Embody Your Mind, focused on teaching and consulting in mind-body medicine, integrative medicine and wellness. Trained as a physical therapist, he brings a deep understanding of the inseparability of body and mind and views the body as a fundamental avenue for exploration within each person’s psychospiritual process. As a long-time advocate for Native communities and an advisor for Sharing Culture, an Australian non-profit devoted to building awareness of historical trauma and epigenetics in indigenous communities, he brings knowledge of both the scientific and spiritual complexities of stress, trauma, and resiliency.

Therese Yanan

Therese Yanan began working in Mexican Hat, Utah for DNA – People’s Legal Services, Inc. in 1993. Since 1994, she has been the Director of the Native American Protection & Advocacy Project, which began as an office of DNA. In October 2005, the Native American P&A was established as a separate non-profit organization now known as the Native American Disability Law Center. The Native American Disability Law Center is one of the few disability advocacy offices in the country that focuses on the special legal needs of Native Americans with disabilities. Ms. Yanan specializes in representing adults and children with disabilities. She has represented children in every level of the special education process in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and in schools funded by the Bureau of Indian Education. She has also been involved in major efforts to improve protections for the civil rights of Native Americans with disabilities in federal and tribal courts, to increase statutory protections for Native Americans with disabilities and to expand the understanding of the unique issues facing Native Americans with disabilities

richard Tailwood

Richard is a Dine’ (Navajo) originally from White Cone, Arizona now living and working in Gallup, New Mexico. He is formally credentialed as a Certified Peer Support Worker (CPSW) by the State of New Mexico Board of Behavioral Health and a graduate of Haskell Indian Nations College. He has a vast background of education and experience in
counseling Native American populations impacted by various forms of
trauma. He is proud to state he is a recovered alcoholic and has been alcohol free for five years.
He also has recovered from a traumatic brain injury. Richard is a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and the San Juan Independent Traumatic Brain Injury Program where he shares his professional counseling skills and life experiences with others. His interests include learning about Native American culture and history from his family and relatives through attending traditional healing ceremonies. Richard is the son of the great Native American artist, the late Richard Taliwood Sr.

Mary lou white

Mary Lou White is a Dine’ elder from White Cone, Arizona.  Ms. White is respected among family, community and tribes as a wise advisor and spiritual leader in the Native American Church and Navajo cultural teachings and wisdom. Ms. White is the initial spiritual founder of the Warrior Spirit Movement. Ms. White experienced firsthand the impact of historical trauma through the Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school system in the 1940’s. She recalls her hair being cut off, and her mouth washed out with soap for speaking the Navajo language. She stated of her experience “We were punished for being Navajo for no reason at all.”  As a Native American activist, Mary Lou testified before Congress on many occasions supporting legislation involving the Indian Religious Freedom Act with her husband Kenneth Sr., advocating for prisoner rights to use traditional healing ceremonies, the protection of sacred eagle feathers, and the protection of the holy medicine used in the Native American Church.
Mary Lou and her late husband Kenneth G. White Sr. have 7 children, 21 grandchildren and 19 great grandchildren. When told she would be giving the opening prayer at the San Diego Conference and Ceremony, and her late husband would be honored,
Ms. White stated “My prayer is the conference and ceremony touches and heals many hearts. Everyone involved must heal, be forgiven and be blessed.
Everyone must have love, hope, charity and faith in their hearts.”

Tamara Strohauer, MSW, ASW

Tamara Strohauer is an Associate Clinical Social Worker, Certified Addictions Treatment Counselor, SERVE: Indigenous Social Workers for Change, Southern Region Project Coordinator, and a Lecturer at San Diego State University, School of Social Work. She has been active in the Roundtable on Native American Trauma-Informed Initiatives since June of 2017. As SERVE Project Coordinator, Tamara works with eleven Southern California Schools of Social Work, from UCLA to SDSU, supporting and recruiting Native American students interested in Bachelor and Master of Social Work Title IV-E Programs. Along with her SERVE Colleagues, Tamara works toward de-colonizing social work curriculum and educating all social work students, on California Indian History, historical trauma, ACEs, cultural humility and ICWA. Tamara provides presentations to future child welfare workers and behavioral health MSW students across Southern California, and is certified as an ICWA Core Curriculum Trainer. Her life’s work is healing childhood trauma through loving understanding.

Dr. Noshene Ranjbar

Dr. Noshene Ranjbar is Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, Director of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Clinic and Integrative Psychiatry Clinic at Banner – UMC South. Dr. Ranjbar’s interests include integrative psychiatry, health disparities with focus on Native American health, and mind-body medicine. She serves as faculty at The Center for Mind Body Medicine where she is involved in building health promotion programs within Native communities.

Tiffany Haswood, M.S.

Tiffany is a member of the Diné (Navajo) Nation and currently a school psychology intern in Sweetwater Union High School District. She came to SDSU’s School Psychology Program and Native Scholars Project from her work as a special education teacher in Tuba City, AZ, on the Navajo Nation. She competed the school psychology program and Native Scholars project at SDSU in May of 2018 where she began her own decolonizing work, accessing the wisdom of her grandfather, and her tribal mentors. She has been diligent in her learning about local communities to inform her work with local (Kumeyaay) youth, learning to access their culturally based assets in tutoring with them on academics as well as in resilience groups.