Lakota & Navajo Colloboration to help Native Youth


Porcupine, South Lakota: The Board of Directors for Wakanyeja Pawicayapi, Incorporated, a non-profit organization in Porcupine, SD, and located on the Pine Ridge Oglala Lakota Nation invited Michelle Kahn-John, PMH, NP; Chief of Behavioral Health; Darlene Wilcox, Ph.D., LP, Clinical Psychologist; and Franklin R. Freeland, Ed.D., Chief Executive Officer, Fort Defiance Indian Hospital Board, Incorporated, Fort Defiance, AZ to Wakanyeja Pawicayapi. The guests from Fort Defiance Indian Hospital were invited to the outpatient adolescent mental health care center. Wakanyeja Pawicayapi in the Oglala Lakota Nation language is translated to “The Children First.”The outpatient counseling and mental health service, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization, is dedicated in helping children that have suffered or been victimized in their environment. Western and traditional counseling and mental health service is provided to the children and parenting training is offered to parents and/or guardians. The staff of the Fort Defiance Indian Hospital was informed that 40 successful suicides had occurred over a period of recent years within the Oglala Lakota Nation. Board members and staff members of the Corporation; and concerned community citizens met on July 6, 2010 at the conference room of the Wakanyeja Pawicayapi. Invited guests from Fort Defiance Indian Hospital were Michelle Kahn-John, Dr. Darlene Wilcox, and Dr. Franklin Freeland. Information of the Sub-Acute Adolescent Psychiatric program and services at Fort Defiance Indian Hospital was shared with the Board of Directors and key staff members of Wakanyeja Pawicayapi, Incorporated and with concerned community members. The meeting opened with a spiritual prayer by Richard Two Dogs and each participant smoked the sacred pipe for a spiritual blessing of self, the participants, and victims. The meeting protocol was that of the Oglala Lakota Nation culture. Board President, Isaac Last Horse and the Elders were seated at the head table, men were seated to the right of the elders, and women were seated to the left of the elders. Each in the room was recognized by the board president as each person present who wished to speak was given the opportunity to provide constructive input. Ethleen Iron Cloud-Two Dogs set the theme for the discussion by stating that the problem of suicides is a known fact and that the focus should be on “outcome.” Present was the President and Vice President of the Oglala Lakota Nation. The discussion from the participants focus on these ten (10) main themes:(1) The Past/History of Life Style; (2) Establishing Partners with the Community, State, Federal, and other Corporations; (3) Developing a strong functional team to develop an adolescent sub-acute psychiatric program; (4) integrate the Oglala Lakota Nation culture in the healing and treatment of the patients; (5) Assess current resources and develop plans to seek alternative resources –e.g. explore P.L. 93-638, The Indian Self Determination Act, Title I; M&M, Private Insurance, Grants, Foundations, and Philanthropy. (6) Visit Fort Defiance Indian Hospital and initiate realistic programs, services, staffing, and cost for a sub-acute adolescent psychiatric facility; (7) Be cognizant of the changes occurring in the immediate environment; (8) Seek support from the local community resources – e.g. – family, elders, grandparents, volunteers – and express love and kindness; (9) Be aware of the four stages of human development of the Oglala Lakota Nation; and (10) Be futuristic in accepting realistic changes and progress.There will be a delegation from the Oglala Lakota Nation visiting Fort Defiance Indian Hospital. The intent of the visit is to nurture a strong relationship with Fort Defiance Indian Hospital for the Oglala Lakota Nation children. President Two Bulls of the Oglala Lakota Nation and Chairperson of the Board, Isaac Last Horse will come with a delegation to Fort Defiance Indian Hospital to gain insight towards the design and development of a sub-acute adolescent psychiatric unit.The guests from Fort Defiance Indian Hospital were invited to participate in the Sacred Tree Ceremony on Tuesday, July 6, 2010. Offerings were made at the Sacred Tree at the Sundance. The first day of the ceremony was set aside for those ages between Zeros through 12. The second day was for those ages 13 through 20. The third day was for those ages 21 through 50. The forth day was ages 51 plus. Michelle Kahn-John, Dr. Darlene Wilcox, and Dr. Franklin Freeland look forward to the Oglala Lakota Nation visitors. frf: 7-19-10