Assess Your Community and Connect Its ResourcesAssess Your Community and Connect Its Resources

Community Assessment in Tribal Areas

A Native American youth worker stands outside with a Native American boy and girl.In Native communities, traditional views of health include the concept of balance; a consideration of mind, body, and spirit; and a sense of the well-being of all people, rather than just a few. These teachings have served well for hundreds of years as American Indian/Alaska Native people have survived many challenges. People are taught to consider the impact of their decisions for seven generations into the future—these teachings lead to an emphasis on prevention and maintaining wellness, rather than simply treating illnesses or problems. Additional considerations for Tribal community assessments include:

  • Many Tribal communities include measures of culture and traditional understanding—like how many young people speak their Native language or know their traditional clans.
  • Measures of intergenerational communications—like how much time children spend with grandparents or elders and can help track how cultural teachings are passed on.
  • Indian Health Service and Tribal Regional Epidemiology Centers have health status information by community/Tribe.
  • The IHS and BIA have Youth Risk Behavior Survey information for schools serving Indian Country.
  • The Indian Health Service’s Health Promotion Initiative has staff who can work with local communities to develop assessment tools.
  • Several Tribal programs have developed tools for Native community assessment including the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board and the Indian Community Health Profile and the Tribal Leaders Baseline Measures Workgroup.