New documentary focuses on the healing journey of Native youth from substance abuse


Two Feathers Native American Family Services has provided services to native families since 1998.

“Two Feathers is a local nonprofit that works with native youth and families. We support youth with, wellness, mental health services, cultural engagement, and youth employment programming,” program director Amy Mathieson, LCSW said.

A new film, Chimi Nu’ Arariihkanheesh: The Healing Journey, highlights the impacts of substance abuse on native youth.

“The creation of this film began because Two Feathers has recognized that many of our youth are impacted by substance use through family, community or their own personal youth,” Mathieson said. “And so we felt that it was really important for our youth to be able to share their stories with the community and to also share about how they’ve been able to heal and go on a healing journey with the support of Two Feathers.”

The word is Karuk word meaning “in this way we heal together” which emphasizes the candid nature of talking through their experiences with drugs, alcohol, and other substances.

This allows the youth affected to share their stories with those unaware of these issues.

“I think that there are a lot of youth who don’t know that other youth go through stuff like this. And it’s important to show that there is a way to heal from different types of substance abuse,” senior youth ambassador Lozen Nez said.

Chimi Nu’ Arariihkanheesh: The Healing Journey also shows the youth’s connection with their native culture, helping them guide them through their journeys.

“When they’re able to connect to their native cultural identity, it can transform their whole sense of self, which then impacts, you know, their their desire to be a healthier person,” Mathieson said. “Also having those supportive people in your life who won’t give up on you, even if you do make mistakes, even if you do experience a relapse or just do something you shouldn’t do which happens, you have people who are walking alongside of you.”

The film will be available to watch online on June 11th after its sold-out premiere on Monday, June 10th at the Arcata Playhouse.