Our History & Mission

The mission of Native Americans for Community Action Inc. is to provide preventive wellness strategies, empower, and advocate for Native peoples and others in need to create a healthy community based on Harmony, Respect, and Indigenous Values.

Native Americans for Community Action Inc has provided over 50 years of services to the Native American peoples of Flagstaff and Coconino County both on and off reservation. Since 1971, our agency also provides other services to Native and non-Native communities such as: capacity building in Native American communities by assisting future political and community leaders, fighting stereotypes of Native American individuals and organizations, and by advocating as a knowledge base on Indigenous issues to governments and other non-Native organizations.

Since 1991 NACA has been offering a variety of health and human services to urban Native Americans, low-income, and other at-risk families as well as those who suffer from health and socio-economic disparities at rates disproportionate to the general population.

Our core program is the Family Health Center which provides services to Native Americans and, more recently, non-Native Americans. Health Promotion programs include health related prevention programs such as: Tobacco Education, Diabetes Prevention, Health Promotion, and Chronic Disease Prevention.

Timeline of NACA History

NACA TIMELINE OF HISTORY

Late 1960s 

Origins stemmed from concerns in the late 1960s prompting the idea for a place for visiting Native Americans to eat, rest, visit, and receive various health services.

1969-1971

The newly established “Indian Center Organization” began fundraising and built support in the community.

1971

Native Americans for Community Action opened on the site of the current Wheeler Park, as the first volunteer run location.

  • It’s purpose was to be a “resting place”, a hospitality center, which hoped to offer a variety of social and health related programs.
  • The center received its first funding from IHS (Indian Health Services) to provide health related materials.

1974 – 1979 

NACA sponsored the Miss Indian Flagstaff pageant, basketball tournament, a community dinner and began the following programs:

  • The Job Search
  • The Youth Education
  • The Adult Education
  • The Alcoholism
  • The Social Services
  • An Elders
  • The Hozho Youth

1986 – 1990

NACA expanded their space as well as the Adult Education Program to incorporate more services, programs and community resources.

1991

NACA was designated as the 1st federal Urban Indian Health Center in Northern Arizona on May 13th.

  • In 8 months had over 3500 visits
  • Assisted clients to increase their self-worth, empowerment, and dignity which established a foundation to increase self-sufficiency through –
    • Identification of individual strengths
    • Promoting self-pride, awareness and respect
    • Establishing realistic goal setting
    • Strengthening personal autonomy
    • Providing tangible assistance that does not create dependence

2012 

The NACA team was staffed by over 50 individuals, with over 70% representing Indigenous cultures, (reported in 2012) and programs included:

  • Economic Development – Overlook Program
  • Prevention – CVD/Diabetes, Tobacco, Parenting
  • Pathways – After school youth program
  • Wellness Center
  • Primary Health Care – Family Health Center
  • Diabetes Intervention
  • Training – Workforce Investment Act
  • Emergency Social Services
  • Behavioral Health Services

2014

NACA awarded with a Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

  • Recognized as “Arizona Outstanding Out-of-School Time” award by the Arizona Center for After school Excellence for innovative out-of-school Pathways programs, providing quality youth development programs for children in Arizona.

2021

NACA celebrates 50 years of service in the Flagstaff and Coconino County communities providing programs and services including:

  • Suicide Prevention & Early Intervention
    • SAMHSA GLS & the Indian Health Service
      • Mental Health
      • Substance Abuse
    • Pathways Substance Abuse Prevention Program for Youth
    • Bordertown Initiative – The Navajo Nation
  • Flagstaff proposes an alternate response center to “reduce the number of arrests related to intoxication, mental health and petty crimes” in the Native population.

NACA’S LOGO STORY

1973 – 2020

NACA’s original logo is constructed through much symbolism and reflects the importance of Indigenous culture and experience.

Mr. Harold Joseph, Jr. , M.B.A, prior Executive Director of Native Americans for Community Actions  explains the background and imagery involved in the creation of the original NACA logo.

“I was the Executive Director of NACA and among the first of who were hired when NACA was incorporated in 1971. At the time felt I felt very strongly that the organization was ready to proceed forward and will need an Organizational Logo to better indicate its purpose and mission to the public and funding agencies.  Doris Honanie was our executive secretary at the time, and Franklin was a NACA board member and a good friend and an Artist.

With this relationship I requested Franklin to develop a design a logo for us.  When Franklin came back with the design he had drawn the image as a pretty realistic logo representing the San Francisco Peaks  Deer and Eagle on the side of the San Francisco Peaks.  I really liked the design which was very artistic work, but I was looking more for something that was more sacred and symbolic of its future of what I thought NACA represented to me so I hand drew the symbol that I thought was symbolic of this.  Franklin was with me in my office when I drew the logo sharing with him what these symbols represented.

I then requested Franklin to lay out the symbols that I drew so that we could use it in our letterhead. This symbol is the NACA Symbol today.  The symbol represents the Earth and the four Major Directions of the Land/Water on Earth, the Bird Footprint represents the Print of the Turkey which is a very important sacred bird to Hopi and many Native Americans.  The animal footprint represents the footprint of the Badger which represents Healers of Life and ones that brought all knowledge of  herbal plants to our Indian People. The Human footprint represents moccasin footprint of all human life on this Earth. The fourth footprint represents the Elk/Deer, symbolic of sacred animal representing food/clothing for our people The inner circle around the footprints represent Mother Earth and the lines going outward from the Center of the Circle represents the Center going into Four Major Directions on this Earth.

The circle that encloses the NACA Lettering and the Arrowheads represents the Universe.   Once this was designed I had our Executive Secretary Doris take this symbol to the local printer who placed the Symbol as our letterhead.  Doris picked the colors of our letterhead which was tan and the lettering and symbol dark brown which I think you still use today.”

Harold Joseph, Jr. , M.B.A

2021

In 2020 as NACA moved toward their 50th year of servicing the Northern Arizona community, the Board of Directors made the decision to create some improved branding and a new, fresh logo design to reflect the plans and dedication to another 50 years of service in Flagstaff.

Knowing the deep cultural roots and community awareness of this icon, this decision was not taken lightly. The Board of Director’s proceeded with as much NACA staff and local community input as possible including several community and staff meetings, a community-wide survey which eventually lead to a Nationwide request for proposals. Through this search – MABU (Marketing and Business Unlimited), an Indigenous-owned firm in South Dakota – was offered the project.

After several months of work, NACA is pleased to release our new brand design and logo design to the public:

The new logo is inspired by the same medicine wheel incorporation of the old logo, with the integration of a basket weave pattern reflecting Native American culture. The representation of a medical cross in the center brings attention to the fact that NACA is a healthcare organization first and foremost. The center split into four sections brings in the four directions/four elements also of Indigenous tradition.

The colors are pulled from the old logo and add a grounded earth-brown to the color scheme.

The text for the NACA name has been adapted to add three triangles in there to bring a graphical representation to the San Francisco Mountain Sacred Peaks which are extremely important to Native American culture in Northern Arizona.