CLIENT: Oregon Health Authority
GOAL: Reduce health disparities caused by tobacco use, help people quit or not start smoking, make more places smokefree or tobacco-free
During our five-year relationship with the TPEP program, one of our key roles was providing technical assistance to Oregon’s 36 county health departments and nine federally-recognized Tribes to bolster their efforts to pass local smokefree policies. In addition to providing trainings on messaging, media relations and advocacy, we supported specific projects relevant to their communities. For example, with the Native American Rehabilitation Association (NARA) in Portland, we helped tell the story of a new ceremonial tobacco garden, raising awareness of the role of sacred tobacco as distinctly different from commercial tobacco. We also worked with NARA and several Tribes to create a toolkit for commercial tobacco-free pow wows, including steps on gaining support, creating policies and communicating about the policy and its benefits. The toolkit (www.smokefreeoregon.com/resources/ smokefree-events/powwows) has been used across the state.
RESULTS ACHIEVED: Several of the state’s largest pow wows are now free of commercial tobacco, and Tribes continue working to reduce the toll of tobacco on their communities.
CLIENT: Oregon Health Authority
GOAL: Increase screening for colorectal cancer
As part of a statewide campaign to encourage more people age 50+ to be screened for colorectal cancer we worked with the Native American community, which experiences higher rates of the cancer. Together with the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and the nine Tribes, we created culturally relevant materials, engaged Tribal spokespeople, shared information through pow wows and Tribal health clinics and included messages in Tribal media. OHA also piloted a program that provided free screening for Tribal members.
RESULTS ACHIEVED: Tribes are better equipped to share information and encourage screening, and have resources to provide screening. Awareness of the importance of screening has increased in Tribal communities.
CLIENT: W.K. Kellogg Foundation
GOAL: Support policy work to increase the number of school-based health centers as a primary strategy for providing access to healthcare for Native American children and youth in rural New Mexico.
Metropolitan Group provided strategic communication capacity building and technical assistance services to the New Mexico Alliance of School-Based Health Care and the 4 Youth Native American Program, grantees of the Foundation. We developed a comprehensive set of tools to facilitate Tribal, state and federal policy discussions, working closely with youth advisors from Laguna Acoma Pueblos and the National Indian Health Board and National Congress of American Indians. We also worked alongside the youth to bring awareness to their advocacy efforts to address teen suicide, writing the storyboard for a youth-led video and co-presenting at American Public Health Association, among other communications.
RESULTS ACHIEVED: Several state and federal policies were introduced and passed. These included funding for a Native American youth peer-to-peer suicide prevention program and inclusion of school-based health centers in the Affordable Care Act.
CLIENT: Cover Oregon
GOAL: Ensure that all people in Oregon, especially those that face the greatest health disparities have access to high quality, affordable health coverage.
Cover Oregon made a commitment from the start to ensure that Oregon’s traditionally underserved communities had voice and input into the development and design of communication materials and strategies to effectively reach their community members. Often, those that face the greatest disparities are left out of the strategy development table or brought in after the fact. With Cover Oregon, representatives from eight of Oregon’s nine federally-recognized Tribes and representatives from NAYA and NARA were instrumental in identifying content needs and helping to design materials that simplified information sharing and resonated with Tribal communities. Special attention was paid to the development of unique infographics that would depict complex information in a visual manner. The design included development of a unique tagline and color scheme representative of all of their Tribal logos. As outreach was conducted to Tribal members, MG worked with each Tribe to develop other communication materials that would facilitate their work.
RESULTS ACHIEVED: While it is too early to determine enrollment numbers for Tribal members, Oregon’s materials for Native American communities have been used by other states in their health exchange communications.
CLIENT: National Lewis & Clark Bicentennial Council
GOAL: Amplify Native American perspectives and Tribal sovereignty through the commemoration campaign.
The National Lewis and Clark Bicentennial commemoration was being planned in the shadow of the controversial 500th anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in America. The latter event was perceived by many as divisive — as celebrating the beginnings of destructive impacts on Native Americans and perpetuating a myopic narrative that dismissed thousands of years of history and culture. To engage people in an important historical commemoration with relevancy to all Americans, a very different approach was required.
From the start, the descendants of the Tribes and bands that explorers Lewis and Clark encountered were part of a national coalition formed to determine the goals, vision and strategy of the Bicentennial. A broader advisory board and independent programming organization, the Circle of Tribal Advisors, was established with leadership from 38 federally recognized tribes. Program exhibits, 13 national signature events and a national ad campaign, all speaking from diverse perspectives, told a more powerful story.
RESULTS ACHIEVED: The decision to commemorate, not to celebrate, and to tell stories of mutual learning and impacts (positive and negative) created a national dialogue that built connections and increased understanding. It also created an extremely successful national program, garnering the participation of millions of Americans and massive media coverage that exceeded goals and is seen as a benchmark model for historic commemorations. Further, it drove lasting changes in curriculum, exhibits, commemorative signs and programs that changed the Lewis and Clark narrative and created strong connections to current issues of environmental stewardship and Tribal sovereignty.
The bicentennial received unprecedented national media attention, including more than 2,500 media stories, from The New York Times and Time magazine to National Geographic Traveler. It brought together more than 100,000 event participants and the “signature events” served as the platform to engage diverse audiences in the commemoration and to support the overarching themes of the bicentennial—cultural awareness and understanding of the American Indian.