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Terrorist threats: American Indian reactions to simulation scenarios of terrorism

L. Carson Henderson, PhD, MPH, College of Public Health, University of Oklahoma, 801 NE 13th Street, Oklahoma City, OK 73190, (405) 271-2017, carson-henderson@ouhsc.edu and J. Neil Henderson, PhD, Health Promotion Sciences, University of Oklahoma, 801 NE13th St. PO Box 26901, Oklahoma City, OK 73190.

The Southwest Center for Pre-Event Message Development was charged with the task of conducting research within an American Indian population in order to elicit promoters and barriers to communication of information about terrorist activity. Forty members of a southeastern Oklahoma tribe participated in four focus groups. Subject numbers were nearly equal in gender and were representative of the SES of the larger tribal population. Using a phased scenario “roll-out” depicting a simulated terrorist attack, questions were asked regarding preferred media and spokespersons, trust of government and other sources of information, knowledge of the Color Alert System, types and consequences of terrorist attacks, emotional response to terrorist events, and the readability and understandability of existing CDC printed materials. Focus groups were taped and transcribed, then analyzed using Ethnograph, a qualitative software program. Focus group findings indicated that participants trusted tribal authorities but did not trust state and government authorities. Concern was expressed that rural tribal populations would be neglected by the state and federal governments. The ability to pursue subsistence living and survivalist tactics in order to protect life and property were strategies for use during a terrorist event. Response to the CDC printed materials indicated a need for changes or additions to many of the materials in terms of clarity, reduced words, and increased graphics.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:
    I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

    Environmental Health and Native Communities

    The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA