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Celebrating Native American Heritage Month

Native American Baby
Children are sacred and the hope of each nation.

To many Native Americans across Indian Country, children are viewed as sacred beings. They are earth’s most recent inhabitants and have a close connection to the Creator. Please join ZERO TO THREE in celebrating and honoring Native children, and the caregivers who support them, not only during Native American Heritage month, but every day.

Our mission at ZERO TO THREE is to ensure all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. We envision a society that has the knowledge and will to support all infants and toddlers in reaching their full potential. For Native American communities, this strong start includes enriching practices that respect and embrace their heritages, languages and cultures. These practices are the heartbeat of tribal nations and weave together multi-generations and build strong foundations for Native children, the future leaders of each nation.

In honor of our Native children and the adults who support them, ZERO TO THREE is providing early childhood educators and professionals complimentary access to some of our favorite resources on serving American Indian and Alaska Native families.


Journal Articles

Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health in American Indian and Alaskan Native Communities: Considerations for Early Childhood Partners and Funders

Ekaterina Zoubak

What key ingredients are needed to effectively promote the mental health and resilience of young children in American Indian and Alaska Native communities? What should non-indigenous allies know when working with Indigenous communities and partners to support young child wellness? What elements and contexts should be taken into consideration when designing and funding such efforts? The following article examines these questions and shares insights and perspectives from those who are working toward better outcomes for young children and families in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.


Building Equitable and Effective Partnerships With Rural and Indigenous Communities

Lee Hinton, Erin Lucas, and Ekaterina Zoubak

Leadership in infant and early childhood mental health must take into consideration issues of diversity, historical context, power dynamics, and difference in worldview and experiences. This article describes the importance of equitable and effective partnerships with rural/remote, underserved, and Indigenous communities in the United States and Canada. It is important to build strong, foundational, respectful relationships rooted in humility, mutual learning, and trust. Effective leaders must also consider diverse concepts of children, childhood, and mental health as they are understood by different communities. All strategies, decisions, and activities that are brought into a community must be adapted in partnership with members of that community and also must be culturally grounded and aligned with the philosophies and practices of the community.


Conference Sessions

Culturally Grounded Approaches to Support Children and Families in American Indian and Alaska Native Early Care and Education: Lessons Learned From Project LAUNCH and Head Start

Strengthening Home Visiting and Early Childhood Program Implementation Through Cultural Grounding and Responsiveness

Additional ZERO TO THREE Resources

Infant Mental Health and Cultural Competence

Supporting staff members in how best to provide high quality, culturally competent services to children and families is a critically important skill for program leaders. This resource highlight specific ways that program leaders can enhance their staff members’ skills related to family and culture.


Partner Resources

Making It Work: Implementing Cultural Learning Experiences in American Indian and Alaska Native Early Learning Settings for Children Ages Birth to 5

Head Start Early Childhood Learning & Knowledge Center

Traditional lifeways, languages, and cultural heritages are important components of young children’s school readiness. Making It Work helps American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) early education staff meet these goals as they teach children about their traditional cultural skills, values, beliefs, and lifeways.


Future Focused Shorts Program

National Museum of the American Indian

The National Museum of the American Indian is hosting an incredible program of family-friendly short films by Native American filmmakers. The films will stream on-demand from Nov 21-Nov 26. Participation is free and the livestream is on their website.


Working with Heart: Meet the Home Visitors of Tribal Home Visiting

This video highlights the ‘Heart Work’ of home visiting teams as they provide support and education to the families enrolled in Tribal Home Visiting. Working With Heart features seven home visitors who share their thoughts about their personal experiences walking alongside families on their parenting journeys. We extend a special thank you to the families who are featured in this video, and to the seven home visitors who provided testimonials for this project: Gail Fitka (Cook Inlet Tribal Council), LaCosta McGhee (Crow Creek Tribal Schools), Shawna Trancosa (Pueblo San Felipe), Adele Stokes (Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe), Anna Hamilton (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma), Cheyenne Gould (Native American Health Center, Inc.), and Laila Longshore-Smith (South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency). This video was produced by Programmatic Assistance for Tribal Home Visiting (PATH) for the Administration for Children and Families under contract #HHSP233201500130I – HHSP23337001T.

Parenting Resources

Sharing Stories Across Cultures: Native American Authors

Help children develop an understanding of Native American cultures and communities.


Rethinking Columbus Day and Thanksgiving

Observing holidays through truthful lenses.



Related Resources


We need your support now more than ever to ensure all babies have access to the quality care, services and support they need to thrive.