270628 Reclaiming our Identities: The Role of Community Storytelling in Native Community Health

Monday, October 29, 2012

Esther Lucero, MPP , Community Wellness Department, Native American Health Center, Oakland, CA
Virgil Moorehead Jr., MFT, MA, PsyD Candidate , Community Wellness Department, Native American Health Center, Oakland, CA
PURPOSE: Research on urban American Indians/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) suggests that strength in self-identity and culture of origin are protective factors or “cultural buffers” that alleviate the negative impact of micro-agressions and other stressors that contribute to trauma. In 2011, the Native American Health Center (NAHC) in the Bay Area implemented digital storytelling workshops and conducted participatory video-based action research in a community history class. The aim was that these efforts would support reclamation of cultural identity and, in doing, increase the probability of positive health outcomes.

METHODS: The Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM) was administered during an 18 week community history class. Factors measured included levels of belonging, pride, and awareness of ethnic group membership. In addition, a series of 3-day digital storytelling workshops were held where participants produced their own 3-minute videos.

RESULTS: Preliminary cross-sectional analysis suggests positive results of the community history class; for example, a majority of participants self-reported feeling more confident in their lives. To date, 50 digital storytelling videos have been produced and published on a You Tube channel and Facebook audience reaching more than 13,000. They are undergoing evaluation as a healing methodology.

CONCLUSIONS: NAHC's media-based community storytelling strategy has empowered the community to promote healthy visibility and reinforce positive self-identity for urban AI/ANs. This positive identity formation is a protective factor that decreases the probability of negative health outcomes. Further analysis of digital storytelling could be vital in the development of evidence to support Indigenous science and traditional AI/AN prevention and healing practices.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Define Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure (MEIM). Name an example of Multigroup Ethnic Identity Measure in practice in an urban AI/AN community. Discuss the role of digital storytelling in health prevention in an urban AI/AN community setting.

Keywords: Participatory Action Research, Native and Indigenous Populations

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of Policy and Programming for the Native American Health Center. I have been serving the San Francisco Bay Area Native Community for over six years in a variety of program, policy and advocacy roles. My passion is centered on transforming the evidence-based practice system to honor Native traditional and cultural practices as stand-alone community validated wellness methods.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.