by Mike Kinney
Many locals who drive by the Richmond Native Wellness Center can probably guess what occurs inside. They likely don’t know how busy it can be at 2566 Macdonald Ave.
A satellite clinic of the Native American Health Center (NAHC), the Richmond center opened in 2009 following extensive meetings held by Native American community in local neighborhoods. It’s aim is similar to why the NAHC was established in 1972: to respond to health disparities facing Native peoples, and the need for culturally-based care.
But the Richmond Native Wellness Center is not closed off to community members who are not Native Americans — far from it. NAHC clinics are open to everyone, there are no tribal or ethnic requirement for accessing each clinic’s services.
The clinic maintains a wide variety of services, from mental health support and drug and alcohol recovery services, to Native American activities, crafts and cultural events.
There are plenty of opportunities to dive into Native culture here. Particularly on Mondays, when a number of classes are offered to all community members. From 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m., there’s a traditional beading class. From 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., traditional basket-weaving is offered. Art for therapy runs from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., while Men’s Drumming & Practice Pow-Wow goes from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The NAHC also runs full service clinics in Oakland and San Francisco. The organization’s mission is to provide comprehensive services to improve the health and well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives and the residents of surrounding communities, with respect for cultural and linguistic differences.
The Native Wellness Center is funded by the Mental Health Services Act & Contra Costa Behavioral Health Services.
For more information call 510/ 232-7020.