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Native American Services

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OYA provides culturally sustaining services for youth who identify as Native American, in an environment where the youth can develop and explore their cultural identity. 

Tribal volunteers, mentors, and tribal support are established through OYA's collaboration with youth and tribal communities. 

OYA offers Native American youth access to cultural resources, mentorships, and events through its Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations, also known as OIIR.

​OYA's Native American Advisory Committee meets regularly at various locations throughout the state. 

The Native American Advisory Committee is made up of representatives from the nine tribes of Oregon, other state agencies, and other tribal entities such as NARA and NAYA.

Represented Tribes on the committee include:
  • Burns Paiute Tribe
  • Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw
  • Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde 
  • Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians
  • ​​Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs
  • ​Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation
  • Coquille Indian Tribe 
  • Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians​
  • Klamath Tribes 

Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA)NARA has family night that is open to OYA youth in the community.

Native American Youth Association (NAYA)​

OYA and the Tribes have developed policies designed to protect certain rights of native youth in OYA.​

​​Senate Bill 770 Public Safety Cluster Group: ​​OYA's Tribal Liaison-​Native American Programs Coordinator chairs this group. Membership consists of representatives of public safety agencies from both state and tribal governments. 

The Public Safety Cluster works toward a collaborative process to assist in the resolution of issues that affect tribal communities, tribal, and state governments.​
OYA's Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Relations (OIIR) helps coordinate special events, activities, and celebrations at OYA facilities, including:
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  • Smudging and prayers
  • Sweatlodge
  • Powwows
  • Drum Circle
  • Talking Circle
  • Native American arts and crafts
  • White Bison (Native American sobriety group)
  • Assistance with enrolling with tribes
  • Tribal history and research
  • Discussions on Native American cultural practices and history
There are 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States. The number of Native American youth at OYA fluctuates from time to time, OIIR works with Native American youth from a wide array of Tribes and communities.​

As of July 2022, 55 youth in OYA custody self-identify as being enrolled in an American Indian/Alaska Native tribe or being of tribal descent. Of those, 53 were committed to OYA through the juvenile justice system and two were sentenced in adult court but placed with OYA due to their young age.

Relative to Oregon’s population of 10- to 17-year-olds, American Indian/Alaska Native youth are over-represented in the juvenile justice system and in OYA. American Indian/Alaska Natives make up about 1% of Oregonian juveniles but 6% of youth committed to OYA (as of July 2022).​ 
The 2021 Relative Rate Ind​ex, a comparison of youth of various ethnicities/races to their white peers, reports that American Indians are 2.3 times more likely to be referred to juvenile court. ​

OYA is always looking for Native American volunteers to serve as community mentors. If you have a talent, skill, or knowledge you would like to share, contact Derwin Decker and/or Leslie Riggs at the contact info listed on this page.  Learn more at our volunteer page​.

​OYA is in need of foster parents for our Native American youth. If you are interested, please visit our foster care page for more information.


Derwin Decker
Native American Services Coordinator

Leslie Riggs
Tribal Liaison/Native American Programs Coordinator