From the Roots Up: An Overview of Shelter and Advocacy Program Development in Indian Country
Our work must move beyond the limitations of a “direct services” approach of mental health or social services. Our work must become advocacy and social change. As we move forward, program development must make consistent connections between the root cause of violence and the way programs do their work.
Violence and non-violence both grow from the roots of a culture: a belief system that describes values, perceptions of reality and relationships. The roots or belief system of a program is described in its mission and philosophy statements. The roots determine the growth of the trunk. In society and in programs, the trunk provides support by determining organizational structure, policy and procedure, decision-making methods, elements of leadership and the like. The branches and leaves of the tree are the outgrowth of the roots and trunk. The branches of a program are the approach, methods, programming, and importantly, relationships and life way. The branches are a reflection of the roots.