SF Mission Planned Healing Center Emphasizes Indigenous Medicine

San Francisco – A new Indigenous Cultural Center in the Mission District hopes to bring the rarely-seen art of traditional medicine to the Bay Area.

Steve Darden is a trained Navajo elder who is a master and traditional practitioner of his tribe’s ancient methods of healing the mind, body and spirit.

Darden uses that knowledge to help the reservation’s youth free themselves from drugs and alcohol.

“We remind them that they are not human as the courts say they are, or that the drugs they are using say they are not human.It is just a human experience and we will overcome it. you can,” he said.

Darden is also a former city judge in Flagstaff, Arizona, so you should know. He is visiting San Francisco’s American Indian Friendship House to help Mission District community leaders plan their own new wellness center based on traditional Indigenous methods.

“Our medicines have no side effects. We have herbalists with ancient knowledge who help every part of our being, mental, spiritual, emotional, physical. A lot of this world is just focused, ‘physically,'” Durden said. “They only address the symptoms, not the underlying factors.”

That philosophy is the inspiration for the Indigenous Cultural Arts Healing Center to be built at Carnival San Francisco’s new permanent home on Florida Street.

It cannot replace Western medicine, but it can be an alternative aid for those who are suffering.

“Here, we welcome our Native American brothers and sisters, the clanderos (traditional healers), to return to the ways of the Native Americans and work to heal our communities. We want to ‘get people off drugs,'” said Roberto Hernandez of Carnival San Francisco.

Hernandez and Native American Community organizer Peter Bratt said Latin Americans and Native Americans began working together more closely after both communities bore the brunt of COVID-19 cases during the pandemic. said.

Collaborative solutions that serve community needs like Mission Food Hub are the result of that experience. Also on the upper floors of the building is his newly completed 130-unit affordable apartment complex.

“Many of the same issues and challenges that affect Latinos also affect Native Americans. Housing is a health care issue, and many of our citizens do not have housing,” Blatt said. .

The center will also have a creator space where art, dance, and music will soothe the soul.

CANA, the non-profit organization that supports the center and carnival, is currently trying to raise $5 million to complete the project in time to become a healing resource for those still feeling the effects of the pandemic.

“The pandemic has taught us a lot. It’s an opportunity,” Hernandez said.

They are acting now, but planning for the future with another Native American philosophy in mind: decisions made today affect the next seven generations.

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