Oglala Lakota wellness initiative hopes to bring together the community in health

January 04, 2021

Oglala Lakota wellness initiative hopes to bring together the community in health
The people of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, home of our Tanka headquarters, are always looking for ways to improve the community.

One organization working to make a difference is the Oglala Lakota Nation Wellness Team. According to one of their primary organizers, Alicia Mousseau, OLNWT has been developing and actively trying to get collaborators and health and wellness events, services and programs out to the community since August 2012.

OLNWT meets at noon every first Wednesday of the month at the Oglala Lakota College Nursing Building to discuss upcoming activities and other pertinent issues. The team emails meeting and event information to their listserv, advertises on their Facebook page and on the Oglala Sioux Tribe website. You can sign up for the listserv by emailing olnwellnessteam@gmail.com.

Making services more visible, prevalent and available is one of their main goals. We recently spoke to Ms. Mousseau about the team and what programs they are offering residents.

Tanka Bar: How did the Oglala Lakota Nation Wellness Team start and when?

Alicia Mousseau: The Oglala Lakota Nation Wellness Team (OLNWT) was an active organization during the mid 2000s and then over the years it became dismantled. I really enjoyed the work we did with the OLNWT when I was involved before I went to graduate school because it brought together all the health programs and organizations to provide collaborative and accessible health and wellness programming and services to the Pine Ridge Reservation.

When I finished my graduate program and returned home, I wanted to get involved in providing health and wellness services to the community again so I decided to reorganize the OLNWT to bring our resources together and provide the best services possible to our community. I also wanted to be a part of a team that supports and encourages each other to grow and be effective.

TB: What are the goals of the group?

AM: The goals of most health and wellness programs and organizations are to provide services, reduce barriers to services, provide outreach to the community, and, ultimately, improve the health and wellness of the community and its residents. Therefore, the goal of the OLNWT is to be a portal and clearinghouse for organizations, programs and individuals to develop, improve and find Pine Ridge Reservation health and wellness events, services, and programs.

Another goal of the OLNWT is to be a resource for professionals and off-reservation organizations that want to come to the Pine Ridge Reservation and provide health and wellness services to the community. Reservation residents know that resources are distributed via word of mouth and individual connections. Many outside entities do not know how to access or utilize these forms of communication and may become disheartened or disinterested in providing their services.

OLNWT wants to encourage these outside programs to bring their services to the Pine Ridge Reservation by providing them with a collaborative health and wellness community that can help them be successful and ultimately help the community members of the Pine Ridge Reservation receive these needed health and wellness events, services, and programs. We also want to especially target American Indian professionals who want to provide services to the Pine Ridge Reservation by supporting them in their efforts and proposed projects. Moreover, the OLNWT wants to provide young American Indians with a health and wellness community where they can get mentorship and guidance to cultivate and advance their educational and career goals.

Future goals of the OLNWT are to become a 501(c)3 organization so we can apply for health and wellness grants and funding to provide more services to the community members of the Pine Ridge Reservation, as well as more support for area health and wellness programs and organizations.

The following are individuals and organizations involved with the program.

OLC Nursing Department
National Relief Charities
OST Department of Public Safety Injury Prevention
Red Cloud Indian School Economic Development Program
Anpetu Luta Otipi
Little Wound School
The US Attorney General's Office
The OST Attorney General's Office
OST Sweetgrass
OST Health Administration Programs
Black Hills Center for American Indian Health
Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairman's Health Board
OST Child Care
Sanford Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health
University of Colorado Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health
Various departments at Indian Health Service (IHS) including Dental, Public Health Nursing, Midwifery/Women's Health Clinic, and Injury Prevention.


Below are some of the upcoming health and wellness events, services and programs that are being provided for Pine Ridge Reservation residents.

Health and Wellness Events and Services:
Emotion Code Seminar
April 19, 2013 from 6:00-9:00PM
April 20, 2013 from 8:30AM-6:00PM
Pine Ridge School Gymnasium
$197 Fee for adults & Free for youth ages 12-18 with a student ID
To register go to Emotion Code
For more information contact:
Allie Bad Heart Bull @ alice.badheartbull@bie.edu to reserve your seat.

Bullying & Question Persuade Refer (QPR) Suicide Prevention Training
April 21, 2013 @ 11:00AM
Allen CAP Office
For more information contact:
OST Sweet Grass
605-454-0518

Survivors of Suicide Support Group
April 24, 2013 @ 6:00PM
Kyle, SD
For more information contact:
OST Sweet Grass
605-454-0518

Month of the Child Walk and Fair
April 26, 2013
Walk will start at 10:00AM from the Bingo Hall to the YO! Park
There will be basketball and skateboard competitions, music, food, as well as booth and information for families from area organizations.
For more information contact:
Lena Goings-Chasing Hawk
OST Child Care
605-867-5172

Research Projects and Programs:
University of Kansas Smoking Cessation Program
You can stop smoking through a research program for Native people that includes group sessions or individual support sessions, and stop smoking medications of your choice all at no cost to you.
Enrollment is open now for people on the Pine Ridge Reservation.
For more information contact:
605-454-1095 or
1-855-552-2424 ext.2286

Black Hills Center for American Indian Health Household Secondhand Smoke Study
Seeking households with an adult current smoker who lives in a home where smoking is allowed and has a child between ages 2-8 years old living in the home. Compensation will be a total of $120 for full participation.
For more information contact:
Priscilla Nez
1-877-218-7257
Health and Wellness Conferences:
Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health Annual Summit
June 11-12, 2013
Sanford Center, Sioux Falls, SD

The Collaborative Research Center for American Indian Health (CRCAIH) is a group of Tribal communities and health researchers, from multiple disciplines, working together to develop and implement cutting-edge trandisciplinary research to improve American Indian Health in South Dakota, North Dakota and Minnesota.
The Summit will include national speakers and trainings on community engagement in research, regulatory knowledge and ethics specific to American Indian health research.
For more information contact:
Phone: 605-312-6231
E-mail: CRCAIH@sanfordhealth.org
Sandford Research

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