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Being A Good Relative Curriculum

This equine-assisted curriculum was developed in partnership with the Spotted Bull Resource Recovery Center (SBRRC) located on the Fort Peck Reservation in South Eastern Montana (Sioux and Assiniboine Tribes).

This curriculum is designed to build mentoring and peer counseling skills with youth and adults working with community-based and/or youth-serving organizations. Offered over a 3 day period and a 1 day training of trainers for adults, each chapter includes learning objectives, culturally rooted lessons, activities, and resources. Detailed activity descriptions provide a list of materials needed, estimated time required, and handouts. Activities build on previous work with Native PRIDE trainings including the Good Road of Life and Native HOPE. The approach includes skits, role-plays, talking circles, ceremonies, art/visualizations, and equine-assisted learning.

Every lesson is designed to build on individual and community strengths while directing individuals toward resources and grounding techniques that can be used in real-life settings. An evaluation tool is included at the end of the curriculum. Upon completion of the curriculum and evaluation, individuals are certified Good Relatives (also known as Cultural Prevention Specialists or Peer Mentors). Being a Good Relative is part of our history and our values. Having strong mentors in our communities builds cultural resilience and promotes healing.

Equine activities demonstrate the importance of horses as teachers. Participants learn about horse behavior, communication, tack fit, horsemanship, and how these relate to being a Good Relative. Participants learn to listen to horses and talk to them in ways that they both understand. This begins with understanding body language, gaining control of personal emotions, talking through energy, practicing communication on the ground, beginning to have a feel for how to talk with the horse, building a partnership and relationship with the horse.