Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

March 3, 2011

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. Azure photo)
Pearl Yellowman-Caye discussed the youth program she heads and some of the upcoming events at the February Suicide Oversight meeting. (B.L. Azure photo)

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 Bozeman.

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 University.

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)
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 communities.

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)
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 disparities.

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 health improvements.

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 at 270-8631.

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