Dear Hoopa Community,

On September 20, 2021 the Hoopa Valley Tribal Council declared a state of emergency due to the local drug epidemic. Since that time, we have renewed our efforts to address this terrible crisis in our community. With this letter, I would like to share with you some of the ongoing efforts and encourage you to get involved and help in whatever way you can as we will need all hands on deck to help us overcome this terrible crisis.

The crisis has become so urgent that we are now meeting every other Wednesday at 10 AM at the Firehouse with Hoopa OES, Tribal Departments and Community partners. All are welcomed to attend in person or through the following Zoom Link:
Meeting ID: 890 4680 4962
Password: opioid

Please reach out to Hoopa OES at (530) 625-4366 if you would like to be added to the email list.

During the course of these meetings we have developed several actions that we feel will help. This has included: CPR trainings and weekly Narcan Trainings for Tribal Departments and Community Members, visits from our behavioral health experts to our local schools grades 3-12 to provide education on the dangers of drugs, a concerted effort to increase the amount of youth work permits provided and getting more people background cleared for increased youth job opportunities, anti-drug abuse signs around Hoopa to promote awareness, grief talking circles (see attached resource sheet), a greater focus on data collection in order to increase funding opportunities, and we are looking at developing a peer to peer substance abuse counseling model where those in recovery can be incorporated as supports to their peers in recovery. This has been a successful model in other places as it benefits both the counselor and their peers.

We have also been lobbying at the State and Federal levels to get more resources into Indian Country so that we can better combat this growing problem. Within the past couple months, leadership from our Behavioral Health Department has been to both Sacramento and Washington D.C. to advocate for funding which would help us develop our own detox center here on the Reservation, hire additional counselors, and develop new programing. At the end of April, I was able to speak with the Head of IHS, Roselyn Tso, and push for more funding to combat this problem before the Kimaw CEO and myself hand delivered a letter to IHS requesting more support. We also sent a letter to the CDC and have since been putting pressure on them for follow up.

On June 10, 2023 our Kimaw Medical Center Behavioral Health Department hosted a walk from downtown Hoopa to Pookey’s Park where we had motivational speakers, a Narcan training, family fun activities and a free steak dinner. The purpose of all this is to bring more awareness to the crisis and show our community that there is support for those who are struggling, people care, and there are positive alternatives to using drugs. We have also asked our Human Resources Department to work on re-classifying some positions within the Tribe that would allow for those who do not posses drivers licenses and/or may have a felony to be able to get hired. This will allow for more opportunities for those returning home from rehab and/or incarceration to be employed which will help them stay clean.

On May 3, 2023 we hosted the Humboldt County Sheriff and the District Attorney for a community meeting. This allowed our elected leaders both locally and at the County level to hear from community members who had many good ideas and solutions. These types of meetings have led to some of the above efforts that are being done to help address our crisis. Since last year’s community meeting with the County Sheriff, several drug busts have been made in our community and many drug dealers have been expelled from the Reservation. The purpose of all this is to send our youth a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated on our lands and in our community anymore. Drug dealers are not role models. If you have any information on anyone selling drugs within our community, please call the Humboldt County Drug Task Force at 707 267-9976. We need your help!

Finally, we are renewing our efforts to engage our local youth. As mentioned, Tribal leadership has been in the schools. We will also be re-starting the Youth Council in the next couple of months and will be consulting with the Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District so that we can strengthen our partnership and get more education on the dangers of drugs into school curriculum. We have also recently sent out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to hire a Public Relations (PR) Person for the Tribe so that we can launch a campaign to bring further resources and attention to these efforts. We are hoping that all of this will get more people like yourself on board as we need all the help we can get to defeat the evil forces of drugs in our community. Please join us by volunteering for a local non-profit, attending meetings and providing input, donating funding to a local youth program, or even volunteering your time to write a grant. There are so many ways each of us can help! It will take all of us to win this battle.

In closing, I want to mention that during the first Monday of each month we will be holding Youth Services meetings at the Hoopa Tribal Council Chambers at 10:30 AM (a Zoom link will be forthcoming) and Trauma Informed Care meetings are held at 4 PM every first Monday at the College of the Redwoods Branch Campus. The purpose of the Youth Services meetings is to get all Tribal Departments and partner organizations who serve youth to work together, collaborate and improve options available to our local youth. The Trauma Informed meetings are meant to, among other things, help us to realize the widespread impact of trauma and understand/implement paths for recovery. As Tribal Leaders we recognize that in order to reduce poverty and the hopelessness and trauma that leads to drug abuse, we must develop a stronger economy and more opportunities for good paying jobs and housing. This is why we have developed a Section 17 Corporation. Please see the attached information on that and consider applying for our corporate board. We ask that you add strength to all of these efforts by joining us. Now is the time we must do all that we can to create a brighter future for our Tribe and community!

Niwhongxw-ne’ (Be Well),

Joe Davis, Chairman
Hoopa Valley Tribe