Rubén Peralta and Carol Moser attended the 2018 Tribal and State Leaders Health Summit 2018 “Learning from our Ancestors, Transforming Health Care for our Descendants” at the Suquamish Clearwater Casino Resort in Suquamish on November 6-7. This was the 10th summit which is held every two years to celebrate the accomplishments of the 29 Tribes and 3 Urban Indian Health programs across the state. It was also the opportunity to hear about the work of the various committees, and affirm the direction of the committee recommendations. Carol and Rubén attended break-out sessions on Tribal Behavioral Health integration, Improving AI/AN Data, Dept of Corrections-Medication Assisted Treatment and Re-entry Programs, AIHC Advocacy 101, Promoting Healthy Native Communities, DHAT State Plan Amendment and Appeal, and heard keynotes on Tribal Evaluation and Treatment Facilities, Foundational Public Health/Tribal Services, and a Joint Panel of Tribal and State Leaders. Carol participated in the “ACH Work Engaging in regions with Tribes” panel discussion along with five other ACH leaders.
The highlight for both Carol and Rubén was the youth panel on Promoting Healthy Native Communities. They discussed that the most important protective factor for native American youth was the preservation of their culture. Culture is Prevention!! They also talked about the issue of trust. The youth depend on adults to make good decisions that impact their lives, and there should be more education around drugs and alcohol to protect them. Communities should ensure healthy activities protect them. Communities should ensure healthy activities are available to youth, and that Tribal leaders should support Youth Councils.
Inter-generational poverty is one of the biggest challenges among Native Americans, and the Tribes need to reprioritize their policies for youth. Look to see what they can change now.
Finally, the youth were asked to define trust. One young lady challenged the adults in the audience by acknowledging that youth put their trust in adults to make the right policies and laws that govern our lives. We need to take that responsibility more seriously given what is happening to the youth in our country.