Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the UCLA American Indian Studies Center
Kevin Hale is a UCLA graduate who earned a BA in Sociology in 2016, and a Master of Social Welfare in 2018. Kevin, who is Diné believes that the education he received at UCLA enabled and empowered him to contribute to the social well-being of American Indian communities in the Los Angeles area. While a student, Kevin was active in both the undergraduate and graduate student associations. This included helping plan the annual powwow, helping tutor and recruit middle school and high school students, and assisting with the many fundraising events and Native Heritage month events. He conducted research as an undergraduate scholar that aimed to benefit the health and awareness of Natives, working in tandem with United American Indian Involvement (UAII) to conduct a survey to determine whether Native Americans in the L.A. area were aware of or used services available to them, including those related to substance abuse, job training, employment and health care.
Currently working as a social worker for the UAII, Kevin is acutely aware that many social service programs fail to adequately address Native people’s needs. Through his profession, he aims to eventually create innovative research and social service programs that have the potential to produce immediate and long-term solutions to aid urban Native populations. But more than social services, Kevin tries to help his clients with their cultural and spiritual health. Along with his siblings, he volunteers in workshops that teach traditional dancing, singing and drumming, and regalia-making for Native American youth. These weekly drumming workshops are designed for healing, where he has found that practicing and teaching one’s own tribal cultural traditions offers the best hope for families and individuals to build a fulfilling life.
“UCLA taught me how to think critically and find solutions utilizing existing resources in the community. Today, I have found myself in a very unique position professionally to help Native American families develop solutions to their particular issues. I work to include myself in as many areas of community activism as I can. Finding solutions to social problems [for Natives] in the Los Angeles community will require the efforts of all people who live here. I stand for whoever has problems dealing with their everyday life and wants to live a life of quality and happiness with their loved ones. People are our number one resource for positive change in our communities, and creating ways to motivate Native communities is one of my goals.”