The Spokinaapi project is a 5 year substance abuse prevention grant the goals and objectives are structured to decrease risk factors and increase protective factors, especially traditional Blackfeet Cultural protective factors. It is the intent of the project to ensure that the prevention curriculum and activities used to address the underage use of alcohol or illegal use of marijuana and opioids are evidence-based, culturally appropriate for Native American cultures, and designed to address the risk factors associated with the onset and progression of substance abuse and reduce abuse-related problems. As part of the comprehensive prevention approach, the project will track and connect youth in all targeted grades with protective factors available in the community to strengthen prevention capacity and infrastructure at the community level. These protective factors include, but are not limited to, athletics, after school tutoring, rodeo, Blackfeet ceremonies, positive adult mentors, Boys and Girls Club, school-based clubs (band, drama, cultural, student council), faith based spiritual connections/affiliations, Blackfeet Societies, and positive peers-based activities available in the community.
The Spokinaapi Project will have four (4) annual goals with measurable objectives.
1. Reduce the number of student drinking underage by 7% annually (35% 5yrs)
2. Reduce the number of students using marijuana by 10% annually (50% 5yrs)
3. Reduce the number of students using non- prescribed pain kills by 5% annually (25% 5 yrs)
4. Increase the number of youth connected to 1 or more protective factors by 10% annually (50% 5 yrs)
The Spokinaapi Project is a three (3) tiered socio-cultural-ecological approach to drug and alcohol prevention/recovery for youth ages 9-20 designed to incorporate the TBHA foundational elements that are culturally appropriate to the Blackfeet Tribe. This range of services includes: developing and teaching the Spokinaapi classroom-based prevention curriculum on alcohol, marijuana and prescription painkillers (opioids) that is culturally appropriate and monitoring/providing linkages to protective factors in the community (Tier I), providing responsive alcohol/drug support groups, trauma counseling, American Indian Life Skills Group, depression counseling and grief/ loss counseling to targeted students (Tier II) and drug and alcohol outpatient treatment, drug and alcohol inpatient treatment, alternatives to incarceration and behavioral health treatment for co- occurring/mental health disorders (Tier III). This approach will align community resources available on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and target existing gaps in services that have been identified by the Blackfeet Community Needs Assessment.
It is envisioned that students who need both Tier II-III services will additionally require a de-escalation of tiered support as they move throughout the continuum of services and their needs change. A Native American prevention curriculum for alcohol, marijuana and prescription pain killer (opioids) that is culturally relevant to Blackfeet traditions and culture does not exist at this time. Evidence based practices are rarely geared for Native American populations and must be adapted to fit the local culture. The Spokinaapi Project will continue Browning Public School’s extensive efforts to prevent suicide, and bring drug and alcohol awareness.