The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians upholds Tribal Government, protects and preserves Tribal sovereignty, history, culture and the general welfare of the Tribal membership, and serves to provide for the long term economic needs of the Tribe and its members through economic development of Tribal lands. The Tribe encourages and promotes a strong work ethic and personal independence for Tribal members, while strongly upholding the “government to government” relationship with local, State and Federal governments. The Tribe constantly strives to maintain and develop strong cooperative relationships that benefit the Tribe and local community.

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians is one of nine federally recognized Indian Tribal Governments in the State of Oregon. The Cow Creek Tribal Nation, located in Southwestern Oregon, has nearly 1,594 members who are governed by an elected eleven-member council known as the Tribal Board of Directors. The Cow Creek Tribe has a rich history in southern Oregon that reflects hard work, perseverance and the desire to be self-reliant.

The Tribal Government Office, located in Roseburg, Oregon, houses not only the Tribal Government body and programs, but also the Cow Creek Health and Wellness Center. The center, which includes a comprehensive medical staff, is provided for the benefit of not only tribal members and their families, but also for Cow Creek Tribe employees and their families.

One of the many departments within the Tribal Government is the Education Department, which currently runs over a dozen programs aimed into three major groupings: Early Childhood Education, K-12th Grade Education, and Vocational/Higher Education.

How does your organization promote/use brain science with children birth through 5 years of age?

Currently, there are several programs that are offered by the Education Department aimed at Early Childhood Interventions that the Tribe utilizes:

  • Round Circle Reading Groups: These groups are aimed at 0-6 year old children and parents, and provide a place and program where parents can read to their children for one hour per week, using the Dialogic Reading Model. Children pick out a special small rug to sit on, and then parents, who receive special training on the Dialogic Reading Method, read, play and converse with their children. This program encourages parents not to jump right in and answer a question, but to respond when 5-10 seconds has passed. The “C.A.R.” (Comment, Ask, Respond) method is used in reading or in play, and helps a child to develop many of the same learning traits that Vroom encompasses. A healthy snack is provided, and each child gets to take a book home with them after every class.
  • Ready! For Kindergarten Program: With funding from a grant, the Tribe will offer the Ready! For Kindergarten curriculum to children 4-5 years old, and begin programs for children 2-3 and 3-4 years old. The program provides hands-on training and interactive tools to actively engage parents and caregivers, equipping them to help babies and young children develop strong brain connections. These connections determine how children think, learn and grow, giving them their best lifelong advantage. The foundation of the Ready! program is comprised of 26 “Age-Level Targets,” or measurable skills, that a typical 5-year-old must have by the time he or she starts kindergarten. These research-based targets were developed by early learning experts, working closely with families, scientists and educators during a seven-year span. The Program offers a meal and child care for families who attend. An abundance of educational materials, resources, games, and books are given to parents each class, free of charge. The program also offers and invests in a Parenting Program (Parenting Now!) as well as a Child Behavioral Program (Kelso’s Choices). Ready! will also conveys information from other Tribal Departments and promotes the following: Parenting, Health and Early Childhood Awareness and Education (Dental Health, Physical Health including well-child checks, vaccines, Preventative Health, Health Screenings), listing qualified preschool and day care providers using the Oregon’s Quality Rating Improvement System (QRIS); Prevention & Abuse information, as well as other Behavioral Health Education and Awareness. Additionally, outside agencies are involved in offering information and resources to families involved in any of the programs that the Tribe currently offers.
  • Pediatric Book Giveaway Program: As the goal of many of our programs is enhanced literacy, the Tribe is taking steps to get books into the hands of Tribal Youth as well as their families. This program allows for children ages 0-12 who come in for a Well-Child Check to be given a free book to take home with them for every visit. Well-Child Checks in these age levels can be up to 20 over the span of years, this will allow youth and families to begin creating their own libraries.
  • Educational Tribal Webpages: The Tribe is in the midst of creating a new section on the Educational Page of the Cow Creek website, which will contain information (broken into age level groups) on best practices for Early Learning Initiatives. The webpages will contain free resources, downloadable materials, books, games, etc., as well as videos in order to teach parents how they can best prepare their children for Head Start Programs, Preschool, Kindergarten, and early elementary grades. Additionally, these webpages will contain other Educational Links to programs such as Vroom (which the Tribe received a grant from the State of Oregon in order to implement), as well as Educational Resources that are available locally in Douglas County.

The majority of the Tribes’ early learning programs are aimed at families with children who fall into the 0-6 year old range and are offered at two different locations: The Tribal Community Center in Myrtle Creek and the Tribal Government Buildings in Roseburg. The Vroom Program has not been given a special class unto itself much like the other programs, but instead, Vroom has been integrated into all existing programs with outreach to the Tribal Community locally as well as well as those Tribal Members who are outside of the service area. Additionally, the Tribe received a grant that enabled them to purchase Book Kiosks that will be placed in our two Health Clinics as well as at a Tribal Playground. The program is intended to allow youth and adults alike to borrow books and either return them, or return something else. Vroom information and handouts will be made available in these Kiosks with contact information on where to get assistance in order to download the Vroom App.

Can you discuss a specific program/event you do that promotes brain science?

Brain science is being promoted in all of our programs due to the fact that Vroom has been successfully integrated. In our Round Circle Reading groups (ages 0-6), parents use the Dialogic Reading approach for reading as well as play. Vroom is incorporated into this program by using the tip cards each session and playing a Vroom game/activity as well as structured reading and play. For the Preschool Preparedness (ages 2-3) and Kindergarten Preparedness (ages 4-5) classes, Vroom plays a role by utilization of the phone application as well as discussing the science behind learning and how the brain works and builds connections based on healthy parent/child interaction.