Suicide oversight meeting
focuses on healthy youth
By B.L. Azure
Pearl Yellowman-Caye discussed the youth program she heads and some of
the upcoming events at the February Suicide Oversight meeting. (B.L.
POLSON — The February Suicide Prevention Oversight
meeting at the Big Sky Bistro and Art Bar last week were given some
insight on a healthy youth orientated program on the Flathead Indian
Reservation funded by The Center for Native Health Partnerships of
Pearl Yellowman-Caye, of the CSKT Tribal Health
and Human Services department’s Youth Wellness program, gave a
presentation on the program that is associated with the Montana State
Her position as a community organizer is twofold:
it is a research position and it provides positive activities for youth
on the Flathead Reservation.
The Center at MSU provides funding for community
organizers on each of the seven Indian reservations in Montana. The
Center is committed to developing partnerships between tribal
communities and academic partners to conduct health disparity research
on Indian reservations in Montana.
Yellowman-Caye said that the Flathead Reservation
because of its location has more to offer its youth than the other more
isolated Indian reservations in Montana.
“The young people on this reservation have greater
access to resources than the youth on the other reservations in the
state,” Caye said.
However that doesn’t mean things go according to
Hoyle. The big or anchor kick-off event planned in December got the
kibosh from Mother Nature.
The anchor event entitled The Main Event was
scheduled during the winter holiday break. However, winter didn’t take
a break consequently, Yellowman-Caye said, the organizers put the
brakes on the event due to the severe weather conditions in that
limited travel to emergency purposes on the night of the big show. It
will be rescheduled and will be well advertised in advance once the
date is set. It will be held on the Salish Kootenai College campus.
Lucinda Bigcrane said the Healthy Relationships program focuses on
young parents and adolescents. (B.L. Azure photo)
There will also be youth orientated events set up
in each of the reservation communities throughout the summer. Caye is
presently in the process of cataloging community facilities that can be
utilized to house the activities.
Caye not only provides healthy activities for
youth but also addresses some of the negative impacts on youth. She
said she will meet with all school counselors March 16 to address youth
violence and bullying.
“Summertime is often the time we see a rise in
youth violence,” Yellowman-Caye said. That is why it is important to
engage the youth in the activities, not only the participation but in
the actual decisions on what, when and where on activities.
“They will all be based on the needs of each
community,” she said. “We will be training young people for leadership
roles in their communities. Kids like to hear the message from their
peers not an adult. They will make the decisions.”
Caye also plans on a youth summit meeting with
youth and adult leaders from throughout the reservation this spring.
The Center for Native Health Partnerships was
developed in response to Native American community members’ interest in
starting community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects in
their communities and in response to researchers who approached the
Center co-directors to learn how to work successfully with Native
CBPR is a collaborative approach to research that
equitably involves all partners in the research process and recognizes
the unique strengths that each brings. CBPR begins with a research
topic of importance to the community with the aim of combining
knowledge and action for social change to improve community health and
eliminate health disparities.
Kelly Ware and Jason Moore query Lucinda Big Crane about the Healthy
Relationships program. (B.L. Azure photo)
The Center is based at Montana State University
and was established through a five-year grant from the National Center
on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD) at the National
Institutes of Health.
The main purpose of the Center is to grow and
change the way that research has historically been conducted with
tribal nations. They bring researchers and communities together to
establish trust, share power, foster co-learning, enhance strengths and
resources, build capacity, and examine and address community-identified
needs and health problems.
Institutional and behavioral changes are critical
to achieving the ultimate outcomes sought through the project:
improvements in Native Americans health and reduction of health
The central research aim of this project is to
determine how best, at the end of five years, the Center can continue
to build the power of Native American communities in Montana to utilize
available resources to address health needs and build capacity for
Yellowman-Caye is a member of the Navajo Nation.
She earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work/Human Service and a
Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. Pearl is currently a
Doctoral candidate at the University of Montana, in the Educational
Leadership program focusing on the Contributing Factors of the
Achievement Gap for Native American students.
Yellowman-Caye’s position at THHS is funded by a
five-year (2007-2012) grant from The National Institutes of Health
Center for Minority Health and Health Disparities through Montana State
University to The Center For Native Health Partnerships there.
The next Suicide ASIST (Applied Suicide
Intervention Skills Training) is scheduled for Monday, March 21 and
Tuesday, March 22.
The next Suicide Oversight Committee meeting is
Wednesday, March 23 at the Big Sky Bistro and Art Bar at 325 Main St.
in Polson. There will not be an oversight committee meeting in April.
For more information, contact Roxana Herak-Colman