by Christine Trudeau
The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of the Flathead Reservation collaborated with local musicians to launch a COVID-19 youth safety awareness campaign. So far, following the release of their second hip-hop song, they’re seeing a successful response in their community’s youth. The series, with a targeted social media campaign, is aimed at 12 to 18-year-olds. In a written release, CSKT officials say the song series was “driven by concerns that youth may not be responding to COVID-19 prevention guidelines.”
CSKT Tribal Councilwoman Charmel Gillin says the result of the first and second songs is one she is proud of.
“They have come right into this serious messaging that’s relevant and important for the future of our tribe and they have really taken the helm, and I’m so proud of them,” she said.
The first song “C-19,” released last month by Kiid Truth, focuses on Covid-19 prevention measures, from hand washing, social distancing, and wearing a mask. CSKT had masks made that Kiid Truth is still handing out and incorporated a TikTok dance challenge with the song into promoting awareness. Gillin says the second song, “Protect Your People” by the Salish and Blackfeet hip-hop artist, Shadow Devereaux, known as Foreshadow, was directed more towards cultural ties with elders and incorporates the Salish language and prayers.
“The responses I’ve seen on the TikTok videos and the things that the kids are coming back with seem to indicate that they’re responding appropriately so I think it’s been a really successful attempt,” Gillin said.
Gillin hopes tribes across the country are inspired by their youth campaign efforts to help other young people develop leadership in their communities as they prepare for adulthood.
This story is a collaboration with National Native News and the Solutions Journalism Network