By Caroline Dao
Many of you are familiar with the NARA Indian Health Clinic located on the corner of N. Morris and Williams but may not know much about the organization. Founded in 1970 in Portland, the Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc. is an Indian-owned, Indian-operated, non-profit agency. Originally an outpatient substance abuse treatment center, NARA NW now operates a residential family treatment center, an outpatient treatment center, a family resource program, transitional housing for Native women and Children, a primary health care clinic and Totem Lodge which serves as their mental health resource location. All services are centered on the family as it is NARA NW’s philosophy that, “Without the family circle there will be no future.”
On October 17th, my Uncle Jubel Perkins Sr. of the Kansas Kickapoo tribe passed away. Jubel had been with NARA NW for over 13 years starting as Maintenance Lead and most recently the Cultural Lead Assistant. He volunteered with the Oregon State Correctional Facilities to facilitate sweat lodge purification ceremonies to incarcerated Natives for over 5 of those years. His volunteer work was not limited to just Natives, he also counseled troubled youth. He had a regular routine of monthly weekend visits at OSP & OSCI in Salem, TRCI in Umatilla, and every other month to Sheridan Federal Penitentiary in Sheridan, and to the MacLaren Youth Facility in Woodburn, as well as monthly Talking Circles at Don E. Long Juvenile Home in Portland.
Serving the community in this way provided a great sense of purpose for him and he continued this good work up until his last breath. Jubel felt like this was an opportunity to give back and to serve Creator and the People. His truly kind and gentle nature and deep love for his family was a sight to behold for those that knew him. Many would say that serving others selflessly is what he lived for.
As a non-profit, NARA gets its funding for AI/AN healthcare services from a patchwork of contracts and grants, many of which already have reduced funding. I’d like to take this opportunity to remind neighbors of the service that NARA Northwest provides to the Boise and Eliot neighborhoods. Donations to NARA NW are being taken in his memory:
Jubel Perkins Sr. Memorial
PO BOX 1569
Portland OR 97207
For more information about NARA NW contant Jackie Mercer MA, Chief Executive Officer NARA NW, (503) 307-2248.
Article contributed by Caroline (Perkins) Dao, Boise NA Chair and Melissa Perkins ,(Jubel’s daughter), Lead Medical Assistant NARA NW.