Our Story

History & Core Values

Our Story

Our Creation Story

So’oh-Shinálí Sister Project (SSS Project) is the Indigenous Circle of Wellness’ (ICOW) community-based extension project that began in 2010, when three first-generation college graduates met while working for a tribal agency in the Los Angeles area. The three young womxn; Monique Castro (Diné/Xicana), Elena Nourrie (Hopi/Cherokee/Chicanx), and Melissa Alcala (Diné/Xicana), discussed a shared dream about one day starting a community-based project that would serve their urban Native community that was rooted in indigenous core values. All three womxn were born and raised on Tongva land, what is now the Los Angeles area, by way of federal termination and assimilation policies that forced their ancestors to attend boarding school and later relocate to the urban setting. Almost a decade later, the three sisters by relations, have come together to make this dream a reality to reclaim and recenter Indigenous ways of being.


The So’oh-Shinálí Sister Project (SSSP) promotes Indigenous education and wellness to empower community members in the urban setting through core values, intergenerational relationship building, and community-based programming.


All Indigenous people in the Los Angeles County area will be able to engage in experiential learning focused on education and wellness that fosters access, equity, and inclusion.

Core Values

We are dedicated to decolonizing education and wellness by staying rooted in Indigenous core values, practices, and beliefs passed on to us by the matriarchs in our family, our grandmothers. This is why "So’oh” translates to grandmother in the Hopi language and “Shinálí” meaning paternal grandmother in Navajo. Each “S” represents the three sisters who brought this project to fruition and their continued commitment and dedication to serving the community that raised them.