Youth Forward’s Tribal Department

Our Tribal Program is a dedicated department committed to addressing and alleviating the impacts that cannabis has had on tribal communities in California. Through comprehensive research, strategic partnerships, community engagement, and advocacy, our goal is to empower tribal nations to navigate the challenges posed by cannabis while preserving and enhancing the well-being of their communities.

Tribal Youth Testimony: Lozen Miranda-Brightman

As a tribal youth I am really grateful for Youth Forward for all that they do for the native community. I am also grateful for the positive and empowering environment that they offer. I feel safe and welcomed in every meeting and project. I am able to meet other indigenous youth that I can connect with. I am able to learn about mental health, learn more about my community, and I am given more opportunities to help my community.

We have been able to develop partnerships with the three main state funding streams from the taxation on cannabis. With these partnerships, we have assisted with securing over 20 million dollars in funding back to Native California over the past three years. These funded programs included Youth Prevention, Land Restoration, Land Reclamation and overall capacity building for Tribal communities in rural and urban areas statewide. Tribal communities have faced intense impacts on sacred lands and community such as:

  • Environmental Impact
    • Illegal cannabis cultivation has led to deforestation, water diversion, and the use of harmful pesticides, affecting the natural habitat and wildlife in tribal areas.
    • Soil erosion and depletion has occurred due to unregulated land use for cannabis cultivation.
  • Water Usage
    • Cannabis cultivation, especially outdoor cultivation, often requires substantial water resources. Excessive water use can strain local water supplies, impacting both the environment and nearby communities.
  • Public Health Concerns
    • Unregulated cannabis cultivation often involves the use of pesticides and other chemicals that pose health risks to nearby communities.
    • Odor and air quality issues associated with cannabis cultivation may impact the well-being of tribal residents.
  • Youth Mental Health and Psychosis Episodes
    • Cannabis use can trigger or exacerbate psychotic symptoms in individuals who are already predisposed to psychosis or have a family history of psychotic disorders. This can include symptoms such as hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there), delusions (false beliefs), and disorganized thinking.

In addition to our Tribal Cannabis work, we have also developed a local tribal youth program that provides space for advocacy youth work on pressing issues these youth experience.

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