Humility is a valued teaching among native communities. In my community, we tell stories about plants, animals, and a certain trickster that learned lessons of humility long ago, to help our children grow up humble and to remind us adults to walk a good path in life. With these teachings, reminders are everywhere: a simple walk in the woods, in the territory of beavers who no longer boast about their beautiful tails, reminds me to be humble. But what does this have to do with success stories?
The team here at the National Native Network seeks out successes among Tribes and tribal organizations, to document and share across Tribes and tribal organizations. We are building a collection of tribal success stories as a library of strategies that have worked in tribal communities. These stories focus on the work being done, how challenges were overcome, and highlight improvements in tribal public health. Sometimes, when we approach a tribal program about writing a success story, the initial reaction involves considering whether sharing a success is boasting, as beaver did about his beautiful tail. It is not. It is a humble act to share the good work that you’re doing for others to take, learn from, use, and build upon. Legacies of historical trauma further complicate and inspire our need to share our stories, and are a much needed area of work in tribal public health.
We don’t have a strong evidence base for many public health practices that work in Indian Country. Much of the funding we receive is restricted to evidence based practices that were largely developed by and researched among non-Native populations. We at the National Native Network and numerous other tribal organizations across the continent are working to address this issue and seeking to build an evidence base for tribal best and promising practices. These success stories are humble steps in the right direction.
For more information on tribal best and promising practices, see the Best Practices for Commercial Tobacco Prevention and Control in Indian Country and the National Indian Health Board’s Healthy Indian Country Initiative Best and Promising Practices Resource Guide.