Dr. Martina Whelshula
Consultant. Trainer. Public Speaker. Artist. Thought Leader.
Dr. Whelshula brings a diverse array of knowledge, skills, and expertise. Her professional and educational background include principal investigator for national research grants; executive director of an inpatient adolescent treatment facility; president of a small tribal college, director of early childhood education; private practice in psychotherapy; education specialist; national trainer; national keynotes; and award winning innovative programming. As an educational and systems expert, Dr. Martina Whelshula has made significant contributions to the national discourse on transforming approaches to supporting families and children of diverse communities.
Dr. Whelshula is a member of the Arrow Lakes Nation of the Colville Confederated Tribes in Washington State and descendent of the Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho.
With over 40 years of field experience and an extensive educational background, Dr. Martina Whelshula has been referred to as an “innovator” in many aspects regarding behavioral health, counseling, and education. She is passionate about helping others transform their lives and achieve optimal health and wellness, especially those in Native American and Indigenous communities. Her most recent work is the development of an integrative cultural healing model that addresses trauma, mental health, and substance use disorders for tribes. Currently, she is a Partner in Swan Innovations LP with her daughter Cree Whelshula. She continues to work as an educator, consultant, trainer, and public speaker. As an educational and behavioral health consultant, Dr. Whelshula has made significant contributions to the national discourse on transforming approaches to supporting families and children. Specializing in working with youth and known for her practical, teen-savvy style, her therapeutic skill has helped many disenfranchised teens harness their own creativity to express themselves in a safe environment in order to heal and grow from their trauma. She believes that empowering youth who have experienced pain and suffering requires a new and innovative paradigm approach. Most notably, she served for seven years as Executive Director for The Healing Lodge of the Seven Nations, an adolescent inpatient treatment facility in Spokane, WA. During her service there, she was highly awarded by local and national organizations for revolutionary and innovative behavioral health care, educational leadership, and community empowerment, among other recognitions.
Dr. Whelshula’s recognitions include: Spokane Regional AGORA Business Award for the Large Nonprofit Category (2014), honorable mention for the National iAward for revolutionary behavioral health care (2014), Harvard University Medical School’s online BASIS Editorial Board, Washington State Co-Occurring Disorders and Treatment Conference’s Innovative Program of the Year, Potlatch Foundation’s Educational Leadership Award, and Washington State’s Public Health Champion for Empowering Healthy Communities (2013).
Dr. Whelshula has a doctorate in Traditional Knowledge, a master’s in Counseling Psychology, a bachelor’s in Communication and Media studies, as well as a certification in chemical dependency. Prior to her leadership efforts, she was also appointed by the Washington State Governor to the Washington State P-20 Council and was confirmed by the WA State Senate as a Trustee for Evergreen State College to serve students from diverse cultural communities.
Additionally, Dr. Whelshula has spoken and testified before the United States Senate, Washington State House and Senate, Washington State Board of Education, Washington Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, among other state agencies and bodies regarding the education of Native American youth.
Consultant. Trainer. Public Speaker. Artist. Thought Leader.
Cree earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Salish Kootenai College, and then moved on to earn her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies- Anthropology, Linguistics, and Economics from Eastern Washington University, Cheney, WA.
Cree builds relationships with language programs, community members, and others interested in Native languages. She focuses her work in language revitalization and works to identify best practices for language knowledge transfer that affects change in fluency levels in different communities. She provides training and technical assistance through several modes such as email, phone, or in-person technical assistance and virtual or on-site training.
When Cree was a child, her mother worked as a Language Specialist in her Tribe’s language program, and Cree would travel with her mother to work with the Fluent Speaking Elders of her Tribe. This early experience in working with Fluent Speaking Elders gave Cree insight into the strengths and needs of our cultures and languages. The Colville Confederated Tribes is made up of 12 Tribes and three main language dialects with distinct cultures. Cree knows how to work with Elders and language learners and is able to improve upon preservation and revitalization efforts. Her experience as a language immersion teacher, early childhood teacher, college instructor, and program manager is invaluable in her work because she has first-hand experience working with young children and their families in various learning environments such as immersion.
Cree then took her knowledge and experience to a national level, serving Tribes through the Administration of Native Americans (ANA) Native Language Community Coordination Center. She served as the Training and Technical Assistance Director providing specialized language training and technical assistance to a cohort of language grantees across the country as part of a demonstration project.
Most notably, Cree's passion for tribal languages and cultures is reflected in her desire to share all of what she knows with anyone who wishes to learn, this includes not only her language but also with her cultural knowledge. Cree pulls together Fluent Speakers and connects them with language learners online in a weekly grammar session to move language and cultural fluency forward among our young people.
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