photo of computer with opening keynote on screen

15th National Tribal TANF Institute: Giving Tradition a New Platform

UC Davis Human Services Hosts First-Ever Virtual National Conference for Tribal Professionals 


2020 has seen much turmoil and the cancellation or postponement of many time-honored traditions. One such tradition, the National Tribal TANF Institute hosted by UC Davis Continuing and Professional Education - Human Services, was not only postponed two months to late September, but also, for the first time in its 15-year history, moved to a virtual platform. 

photo of participant giving thumbs up
Thumbs Up: Submitted by Samantha Hansen and colleague of Cook Inlet Tribal Council participating in the Institute’s virtual scavenger hunt

Despite the challenges, the Institute saw amazing participation from Native communities from across the country, with 208 participants from 42 organizations in 15 states. The four days of the institute featured 20 workshops, two keynote addresses and an annual cultural exchange and closing sessions. All classes, sessions and events focused on the theme: Our Families, Our Future, Connecting Communities of Care. The topics addressed case management standards, substance abuse, family stabilization practices, historical trauma, wellness strategies and management and leadership skills, such as coaching, change management and collaboration with local agencies. Dr. Ines Hernandez-Avila started the week on an inspirational note with her keynote address “The Road to Healing and Well-Being”, while Professor Beth Rose Middleton Manning discussed the importance of tribal lands clearing to overall environmental health. Both UC Davis faculty members were amazing, and we thank them for their participation.  

“I wasn't quite sure what to expect with an online training and conference, but I was pleasantly surprised by the effectiveness and it was a very rewarding experience.” 

photo of man and son in tribal regalia
Submitted by Institute participant Valorie Adams, photo of grandson and son in traditional regalia made by Adams

Survey feedback from institute attendees and instructors alike show that the institute was enjoyable and meaningful.  

“I learned so much and gained many tools to implement in my own programs. The energy of the conference was inviting, accessible and supportive.”  

While the positive feedback justified the effort of the Human Services staff, we are also looking forward to returning to an in-person institute in 2021, which is scheduled to take place July 19-22 in Sacramento at the Hilton-Arden Hotel.

For more information on the 2021 National Tribal TANF Institute, continue to watch this space or email our mailbox at 

Primary Category