Kevin Hale is a member of the Navajo tribe, of the Red House Clan (his mother’s clan) and born for the Salt Water Clan (his father’s clan). He has a master’s degree in social welfare from UCLA and worked as a substance abuse counselor for six years. Currently, Hale is a social worker at United American Indian Involvement in downtown Los Angeles, connecting Native American adults and elders with social services, therapy, and substance abuse care. Just as important, Hale helps his clients with their cultural and spiritual health, sharing his own experience with recovery and acknowledging the intergenerational trauma caused by US government policies. At UCLA, he organized the annual powwow and served as a peer counselor for Native American and Pacific Islander students seeking to transfer to a major university. He continues to support his community through UCLA alumni projects and the American Indian Student Association. Hale has found that practicing one’s own tribal cultural traditions offers the best hope for families to build a fulfilling future. One of his goals is to join a research project aimed at helping Native Americans combine their traditional practices and city lives to create a productive fulfilling way of life that embraces heritage in the modern world. Along with his siblings, he teaches traditional dance, singing, drumming, and regalia-making for Native American youth.
“You have to be optimistic about life, that’s what makes change happen.”