Success Stories: Our Stories

Tribes, tribal communities, and tribal organizations are doing incredible work across Indian Country: protecting the health and well-being of community members and employees, using traditional knowledge and cultural ways, and leading the path for future generations to live long and healthy lives.

The success stories housed on this page are gifts from Tribes, communities, and organizations willing to share their successes and lessons learned to help other Tribes and communities prevent cancer and commercial-tobacco related health disparities.

Woven together, these stories form a strong and vibrant picture of healthy Native communities’ best and promising practices, community and clinical linkages, and real public health leadership honoring tribal community ways.

success stories

  • ITCMI AICTP Success Story (PDF) “In 2019, the Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan’s Three Fires Comprehensive Cancer Consortium (CCC) Program increased its use of media to run culturally tailored tobacco digital ads which focused on cancer prevention through smoking cessation.  The ads resulted in a significant response to the call to action to dial the American Indian Commercial Tobacco Program at 1-855-5AI-QUIT.
  • What Gets Measured Gets Done (PDF) “SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) is a tribal health network with facilities across the archipelago of southeast Alaska. With over 10,000 patients, the need was clear for an electronic health record (EHR) to manage patient risk factors and care.”
  • Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Tobacco Code (PDF) “When presented with data on Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Indians (NHBP) smoking rates, tribal staff and leadership decided to be proactive in protecting the health of their membership and employees, now and for next seven generations.”
  • Health System Changes Lead to Educating and Referring More Smokers to Cessation Services (PDF) “A group of employees from several departments at SCIHP in Santa Rosa, California felt it was a priority to reduce the incidence of smoking among their patients and employees.”
  • Northern California Teens Work to Reduce Commercial Tobacco in Films (PDF) “In 2012, United Indian Health Services along with their Teen Advisory Group began to address this [higher smoking population] issue. The teens started by creating storyboards about traditional tobacco, commercial tobacco, and the dangers of second hand smoke. This allowed them to create 3 Public Service Announcements.”
  • Partnering to Promote Tribes to Use Quit Line and Quit Incentives (PDF) “In February of 2014, the California Rural Indian Health Board (CRIHB) began working with the Medi-Cal Incentives to Quit Smoking (MIQS) program to promote the MIQS quit incentives to California’s American Indian communities. The MIQS program offers a $20 gift card to eligible Medi-Cal members who call the Quit Li ne and complete the first counseling session through December 2015.”
  • Cherokee Nation Tobacco Cessation Counseling Reimbursement (PDF) “Cherokee Nation Community Health Promotion has partnered with the State of Oklahoma to implement policy, systems, and environmental changes for over 20 years. This partnership will offer a reimbursement to designated providers who work with eligible patients to make a tobacco quit attempt.”
  • National and Community Partnerships to Reduce Commercial Tobacco Use in U.S. Tribes (PDF) “The Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan, in partnership with the following affiliate and other organizations—University of Arizona HealthCare Partnership, National Native Network, Inter-Tribal Council of Arizona, Society for Public Health Education, Pascua Yaqui Tribe, and San Carlos Apache Nation—has reached over 350,000 people living in tribal communities with its A PROMISE Partnership tobacco control and prevention project.”
  • State Recognized Tribal Administration Enforces Tobacco Policy (PDF) “The Lumbee Tribal Administration created a tobacco free policy in 2008. This policy was adopted and passed by the Tribal Council. This policy includes all tribally sponsored events and all tribally owned properties including buildings, land and vehicles.”
  • White Earth Tribal Building Adopts Smoke-Free Policy (PDF) “In August 2008, White Earth health educators Gina Boudreau and LaRaye Anderson were approached by the Executive Director of the Tribe to create a smoke-free policy for the newly built tribal council and government building in White Earth, MN.”
  • Leech Lake Organizes Local Tobacco Advisory Councils (PDF) “People arrived at the Bena community center on the morning of March 7, 2011, from villages around the Leech Lake Nation. But the people weren’t gathering for the usual powwow, not a sporting event or a community feast. Instead, they came for a two-day training in diverse community based tactics—tobacco policy, media, community organizing—tactics that would help them stop the harm to their people caused by commercial tobacco.”
  • Smoke-Free Zone Adopted Around Bois Forte Buildings (PDF) “In early June 2010, Tribal Tobacco Education and Policy (TTEP) Coordinator Daanis Chosa sat at her desk and pulled together a packet of important documents: a copy of language for a resolution on a 50-foot smoke-free buffer zone around tribal buildings, an approval email from the tribal attorney, and a formal agenda request form for going before the Bois Forte Tribal Council.”
  • White Earth Creates Smoke-free Policy at Casino (PDF) “The White Earth Health Education Department collaborated with the White Earth tribal council, casino management, and employees to create additional smoke-free space and policies at the Shooting Star Casino and Event Center.”
  • Walking is Easy, Healthy, and Good Medicine (PDF) “With the alarmingly high rate of 7 out of 101 Alaska Native people in Southeast Alaska overweight or obese, and with 4 out of 101 Alaska Native people not meeting national recommendations for physical activity, a major goal of the SEARHC Health Promotion team was to increase physical activity and reverse the Obesity trend.”
  • Hannahville Indian Community Partners with YMCA to Support Employee and Membership Wellness (PDF) “The Hannahville Indian Community’s Community Health Department formed a ground-breaking initiative to increase employee and member access to health and fitness resources and guidance. The Hannahville Indian Community contracted with the local YMCA to bring a personal trainer into the tribal clinic to lead group exercise classes and personal training sessions, offered free to tribal employees and members.”
  • Health System Changes Lead to Educating and Referring More Smokers to Cessation Services (PDF) “A group of employees from several departments at SCIHP in Santa Rosa, California felt it was a priority to reduce the incidence of smoking among their patients and employees.”
  • Increasing Access to Chronic Disease Programs in Tribal Communities (PDF) “This clinical strategy and community linkage benefits the tribes that we work with. Assisting with the needs of 18 tribes and tribal communities in the four-state region of South Dakota, North Dakota, Nebraska and Iowa, Great Plains Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board addresses the health necessities of its members by assisting in accessing health-related programs and resources.”
  • Lumbee Teen Makes Strong Recovery (PDF) “Mr. Triston Lowry is a prime example of a strong, positive and energetic native youth. Triston has been a member of the LTNC Boys and Girls club since the age of seven and has been an active tribal volunteer for the last year. He recently graduated high school, has a job working for the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina (LTNC) as a Customer Service Representative and will be attending college in the fall. Once you meet him, he’s a very hard young man to forget. However, Triston is also a brain cancer survivor.”
  • Growing Greens with Children in SouthEast Alaska (PDF) “More children eat fresh greens thanks to the Association for the Education for Young Children – S.E. Alaska and their partners. Children, care providers and parents learn gardening and food preparation skills of locally grown produce through the “Growing Green” program.”
  • Fish to Schools: Transforming School Lunches in Sitka, Alaska (PDF) “In 2014, all 1,825 children in public, private, boarding, alternative and HeadStart schools had access to locally-caught fish lunches thanks to the Fish to Schools (F2S); a partnership between fishermen, schools, food service contractors, seafood processors and local organizations.”
  • Sitka Health Summit Unites Community Members and Health Policies (PDF) “The main activity of the Sitka Health Summit is Planning Day, an annual meeting that engages community members to take an active role in identifying, prioritizing, and implementing Citizen Health Initiatives. With support and policy guidance from the SEARHC Community Transformation Grant, the Sitka Health Summit created grassroots initiatives that empower community members to make systemic changes to improve community health policy.”
  • Cherokee Nation Educator Lives Her Teachings (PDF) “It’s one thing for Cherokee Nation Public Health Educators to teach others about tobacco cessation and the importance of cancer prevention. It’s another thing to speak straight from experience, which is what Mary Owl has had to do.”
  • White Earth Creates Health Systems Change (PDF) “The White Earth Reservation Community Health Education Tobacco Program collaborated with the White Earth Indian Health Service (IHS) clinic to create a successful health systems change. Because of the tobacco program’s efforts, the IHS clinic has implemented a cessation program that encourages providers to use evidence-based practice to ask each patient about smoking and offer nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). Tribal health educators and clinic staff provide patient follow-up.”

Share Your Story

If your Tribe or tribal organization would be willing to share your story, contact us. National Native Network staff can assist with the process of creating and sharing your success.

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