November 24, 2017
Great People Doing Great Things: Zero Suicide Academy
Governor Steve Bullock said he often feels like the ‘consoler in chief' when he addressed the Zero Suicide Academy conference in Helena this fall because he’s attended so many funerals of people who've chosen to end their own lives.
Many of those were young Native Americans, and MTN's Jill Valley reports on what it’s going to take to save lives on the state’s reservations.
Bullock recently launched the Zero Suicide Academy which is a big part of a statewide plan to reduce Native youth suicides.
The goal is to share ideas people can take back and put to use in their own communities in order to examine what’s happening on their own Reservations. While there are no easy answers, the conversation is well underway.
“Suicide isn’t something you can address and it’s going to go away. It’s a symptom of much bigger issues and what we want to think about, what else do we have to do?” said Anna Whiting Sorrell with CSKT Tribal Health. “We have to pull together and see what other Tribes have done as this is an issue of wellness across Indian Country.”
Native American Entrepreneur Program Expanded
Last week, New Mexico Community Capital (NMCC) announced that a $1.2 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will allow it to expand workforce training for New Mexico’s Native American population, which has the highest poverty rate in the state, at 34.6 percent.
The grant program is an expansion on NMCC’s Native Entrepreneur in Residence (NEIR) program, which started in 2014. Peter Holter, managing director of entrepreneurial services with NMCC, said that “24 graduates from that program have created 84 new jobs and $7.36 million in new gross revenues.” However, he added, “Many struggle to prepare competitive business plans and funding applications. They lack access to consistent business expertise, free support services, and peer networks.” The added funding will help NMCC address that problem.
Should Goverment Define "Native American Art"?
Peggy Fontenot has had a successful career as a Native American artist working in beading, silver jewelry and black-and-white photography. She's won numerous awards at art shows and has shown her work at top-tier museums.
Today her career is in jeopardy because of a 2016 state law that says only members of federally-recognized tribes can market their work as "Native American" or "Indian made." Fontenot is a part of the Patawomeck tribe, which is recognized only in the state of Virginia.