136: SPECIAL SESSION - Creating Culturally Appropriate Healthy Relationship Interventions in Tribal Communities: Centering Indigenous Voices and Wisdom

Janeal White; Sarah Allen; Alma Knows His Gun McCormick; Roni Knows His Gun Spang
3:45 PM
5:00 PM
Salon D
Session #
Session Type
Special Session
Organized By
Advancing Family Science
Family and Community Education
Family Policy
Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families
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About the Session

Conference Attendance Hours: 1
NBCC CE Hours: 1

Made Possible by the Family and Community Education, Advancing Family Science, Family Policy, and Racial and Ethnic Diversity in Families Sections


This presentation explores the process of developing the “Healthy Relationships are Sacred” intervention for the Apsáalooke nation in Montana. Our community-based participatory research (CBPR) partnership between Messengers for Health, an Apsáalooke (Crow Indian) non-profit organization, and Montana State University has worked together for over 25 years on a number of projects important to community members. When community members expressed an interest in early, preventative relationship education, we began discussing the most appropriate and respectful manner to move forward in a way that was culturally consonant with Apsáalooke cultural values and strengths. We began first by utilizing the Community Readiness Model, a tool designed by members of the Indigenous community to listen to community stakeholders about community knowledge, awareness, and concerns related to healthy relationships. We also engaged community focus groups, Community Advisory Boards, and interviews with elders, knowledge keepers, and role models of healthy relationships in the community to further inform our curriculum design, delivery, topic selection, and approach. We will share the themes that emerged from this process and their implications for future curriculum development. Attendees will leave with a better understanding of CBPR approaches that emphasize collaboration and consensus building. Implications for teaching Family Science students and future family service professionals how to work with Indigenous partners in a respectful manner when developing Family Life Education programs will be discussed.


  • To discover respectful approaches for working with tribal communities that center the voice, knowledge, and wisdom of Indigenous people in a culturally consonant manner.
  • To apply key approaches of our program development to future Family Life Education curriculum design and development with Indigenous communities.
  • To learn how to improve the cultural competence of students, faculty, and family service professionals when developing educational interventions within Indigenous populations.
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Conference Session