May 25th, 2016 Last Updated on: May 25th, 2016
United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy visited the Absentee Shawnee Tribe’s Little Axe Health Center in Little Axe, OK for a roundtable discussion with area Tribal Leaders as well as the Citizen Potawatomi Nation in Shawnee, OK for a Town Hall Meeting with Oklahoma Tribes participating in the Strategic Prevention Framework – Tribal Incentive Grant Program.
This historic visit was the first time a U.S. Surgeon General has ever met with tribal leaders.
The Surgeon General also heard presentations from youth members of four Southern Plains Tribal Health Board partner tribes. According to the Stillwater News Press, he was impressed with the programs for youth.
He applauded the community’s efforts to integrate traditional culture into treatment and prevention through programs like IAMNDN, a culturally-centered youth substance abuse prevention program developed with young people from the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribe, Absentee Shawnee Tribe, Chickasaw Nation and Comanche Nation.
Culture and identity are powerful things, he said. Problems become worse when people are feeling disconnected from others and themselves, losing their sense of identity and self worth.
“When we strengthen culture and identity we strengthen our communities,” Murthy said. “Community is an antidote to isolation.”
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