Tim Leeds Havre Daily News email@example.com
A myriad of activities are planned at a two-day meeting at Rocky Boy’s Indian Reservation next week, including tribal, state and federal officials coming for the grand kickoff of a child support program and a new program to fight methamphetamine spearheaded by the Montana reservation. “What you will see is two events coming together at the same time,” said Brenda Gardipee, project coordinator of Rocky Boy’s Child Support Enforcement Program. Gov. Brian Schweitzer, Assistant U. S. Attorney Joe Thaggard and Eric Broderick, Ph. D, deputy director of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Heal th Heal th Services Administration, will be among the speakers at the event Monday and Tuesday at Rocky Boy. The meth program is the local participant of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service’s Indian Country Methamphetamine Initiative. Tribal Council member and state Rep. Jonathan Windy Boy, D-Rocky Boy, has been involved in the creation of a tribal program to fight meth abuse since he testified in Washington in March 2005 at the DPHHS Tribal Budget Consultation, a press release from the group coordinating the initiative said. At that time, Windy Boy discussed the problem of meth with Broderick, then acting director of SAMHSA. The issue was further discussed when a hearing was held in Billings in May 2005 by the assistant secretary of health. At that time, Montana and Wyoming tribes testified about the desperate need to find treatment for and prevention of substance abuse, and to provide more than traditional services, the release said. The desire included finding methods for better dispute resolution, culture-based therapeutic methods of justice and to assure the safety of their young people. The consensus of the testimony also expressed concern for the increasing need for services and the decreasing funding for the services. At the end of the last year, the Chippewa Cree Tribe was one of six Tribes in the country invited to part icipate in the Indian Count ry Methampetamine Initiative. The Tribe’s program, the Ojibwa Ne-iyah-w Initiative: A Culture Based Approach to Prevention and Treatment, is headed by Windy Boy and a Tribal Elder’s Advisory Committee. The goal of the intitiative, the press release said, is “to build a healthy community by providing access to traditional healing and knowledge, developing and implementing (culture- based) prevention and t reatment programs, and assisting Tribal Administration in developing and implementing (culture-based) approaches to the service.” The other main initiative at the meeting will be the Tribe’s participation in a federal program to consolidate child support payment enforcement at a tribal level. Gardipee said the Chippewa Cree Tribe is the first Montana Indian Nation to participate in the program. Gardipee said the problem appears to be a big one. At Rocky Boy there appear to be about 390 cases in Rocky Boy’s zip code but it is difficult to tell because of the lack of coordinat ion between the Tribe, the state government and the other Indian Nations. The Tribe’s Child Support Enforcement Program, in its second year in the planning stages, will try to alleviate that lack of coordination, she said. “We are building a stronger relationship with state agencies and state government and other tribes,” she said. The program is part of the federal Administration for Children and Families Title IV D program, she said. The Rocky Boy program is now focusing on three areas, Gardipee said: making revisions to the Tribe’s law and order code specific to child support enforcement; development of an intergovernmental agreement policy and procedure for child support enforcement; and building the foundat ion for the program and establishing a relationship with the State of Montana on the issue. Gardipee said the presentations for the two main issues at the meeting will overlap; while there will be different presentations on each initiative, both will come together at times during the two-day meeting. The meeting is scheduled to run from 8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday at Stone Child College, followed by a banquet and entertainment starting at 5:30 p. m., including a ceremony honoring Broderick and entertainment by Canadian Cree comedian Don Burnstick. The program cont inues Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., including the keynote presentation by Schweitzer and and signing of intergovernmental agreements at 9 a.m.