RAPID CITY, S.D. — A new initiative to address the opioid epidemic in tribal communities launches this week in South Dakota.
The Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board received a grant to fund an opioid response program to provide prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.
They coordinated with a communications firm to produce the “Skyhawk Reborn” comic series, which focuses on opioid misuse and abuse. Great Plains wanted to find a creative way to engage and educate youth in Indian country.
“So our grant services all individuals aged 10 and older – and of course you know they say the younger you can start educating the better,” says Great Plains Tribal Opioid Response Program Manager Staci Eagle Elk.
Skyhawk Reborn is a fully–animated digital and print comic series that uses indigenous culture and tradition to connect with readers. The cultural element is something Eagle Elk believes is key to reaching the intended audience, and is the reason Skyhawk Reborn is printed in three languages: English, Lakota, and soon – Dakota.
“We say, ‘we are the proof of our ancestors prayers’…we are also the proof of their resilience and their determination to survive,” Eagle Elk says. “That’s kind of the premise on which we used is, you know, their prayers…the cultural traditions and bringing that back and how those traditions can save our communities and our tribal individuals today.”
Skyhawk Reborn will premiere at 2 p.m. Friday, October 8 on Great Plains Tribal Leaders Health Board’s Facebook page.
CLICK HERE for more information on the board and their efforts.