Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma

Saving the Next Generation
Garrett Lee Smith Tribal

The Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma has utilized funding from DHHS, SAMHSA GLS Grant for State/Tribal Sponsored Youth Suicide Prevention, Early Intervention has established a proficient and prolific program secured into their own tribal government, and proven necessary as a vital component that tribes must provide to their people. The opportunity to implement and develop the Kiowa Teen Suicide Prevention Program, Saving the Next Generation has provided research-based youth suicide prevention programs through local contractors, tribes, and schools. To further the collaboration with state and tribal entities, and assist the state of Oklahoma and our Nations plan in the Prevention of Youth Suicide. This prevention program aims at assisting in decreasing the incidents of intentional injuries for both tribal and non-tribal youth ages 10-24, which live within our Native American Communities and rural areas of Southwest Oklahoma.

The pertinence of creating wellness in Native Communities must circumvent the old mindset of only addressing the needs of one certain nation or race of people, but ultimately must encompass a greater view that will eventually affect each Nations own legacy. Moreover, we must consider that one human life impinges on all of us no matter what nation, race, age, or gender. The GLS funding has assisted in the possibility of a tribally based system of care, aimed to service its own tribal people, as well as a prototype program, able to provide services to every race & individual living within our close, diverse, & unique communities.

Collaborating with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, and under the direction of the Oklahoma State Youth Suicide Prevention Plan, the Kiowa Tribe has made efforts to address the issues of suicide prevention in the Southwest region of Oklahoma. This area of over (13) Counties, also encompasses (7) of our Nations Federally recognized tribes. The tribes that are within our service area are the Kiowa, Comanche, Wichita, Ft. Sill Apache, (Kiowa) Apache, Delaware, and the Caddo Tribe of Oklahoma. The Kiowa Tribe stands as the largest populated tribe within this area. With over 16, 500 enrolled members; the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma provides services to many of these counties and tribes within its service area. Suicide has reached a critical and epidemic proportion to many of our Native Communities, within recent years. At which time, only the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma has begun to work on a plan of infrastructure to address Youth Suicide Prevention among the (39) federally recognized tribes located in the state of Oklahoma.

Consequently, our goals remain identical to the GLS initiative, to decrease lives lost by suicide among our Native American People and our Neighbors that live among us, and to save young lives in order to reach their full and vital potential in life.

We hope the success and achievement of what this program has accomplished and has already fulfilled will continue to bring awareness and Save the Next Generation.