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San Diego American Indian Health Center to Hold Youth Gathering of Native Americans at Viejas Casino and Resort

San Diego CA— The San Diego American Indian Health Center (SDAIHC) will sponsor a Youth Gathering of Native Americans (GONA) from Sunday, June 23, to Thursday, June 27, 2019, at Viejas Casino and Resort located 5000 Willows Rd, Alpine, CA 91901. The programs will be held in the Willows Ball Room and will run from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

GONA is a culture-based planning process where community members gather to address community-identified issues. The Gathering is a safe place for young people, ages 10-24, to share, heal and plan for action with program leaders who will explain the relationships between historical trauma, cultural resilience and reconnecting to culture. GONA is open to all local Native youth.(Click on image to enlarge poster)

“The Mission of GONA is to create a healing journey that transforms young people towards a cultural identity that involves sacredness, focusing on healing from the past and building a foundation for a strong future. GONA is a roadmap for this journey,” said Anthony Pico, former Chairman of Viejas and this year’s GONA Spiritual Advisor. “Because the conference is being held in Kumeyaay territory, it is appropriate that the Kumeyaay open the conference with their Bird Songs and share their Creation Story with youth.”

GONA programs will focus on four themes:

  • Belonging, ensuring that everyone feels welcome in an inclusive, open, safe and trusting environment.
  • Mastery, allowing participants to take stock of how historical trauma impacts their communities and what fosters their resilience and holds them together.
  • Interdependence, which initiates the planning process to access resources and relationships.
  • Generosity, which involves the GONA exercise of creating gifts to share with other participants. This symbolizes each participant’s larger gift to their families and communities in helping to address and prevent mental and substance abuse disorders, prevent suicide, and promote positive mental health.

GONA is facilitated by community-based trainers and expert consultants, who can safely and effectively lead a group programs. The process involves examining skills, abilities, knowledge, resources and desires that can successfully be used to help meet the community’s overall vision and goals.

Other sponsors of the event include Sovereign Nation of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and Native American Health Center.

For more information about GONA, please visit or call (619) 234-2158, or contact Lisa Mann-Mattson at or Virginia Suarez at