“Let our Apache Heritage and Culture Live on Forever and Teach the Young Ones”: Development of The Elders’ Resilience Curriculum, an Upstream Suicide Prevention Approach for American Indian Youth

Mary Cwik, Novalene Goklish, Kristin Masten, Angelita Lee, Rosemarie Suttle, Melanie Alchesay, Victoria O'Keefe, Mary Allison Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The White Mountain Apache Tribe have developed an innovative curriculum that connects youth through Elders to their heritage, traditions, and culture, which has been proven to be a protective factor for native Americans. The development process took 4½ years and included community stakeholder buy-in, Elders’ Council group formation, extensive formative work to identify content, iterative feedback between curriculum writers and Elders, and Elder training prior to implementation. Members of the Elders’ Council have been visiting the local schools to teach youth about the Apache culture, language, and way of life since February 2014 reaching over 1000 youth. This approach demonstrates a promising upstream suicide prevention strategy. We discuss the process of development, implementation, and lessons learned, as this curriculum has potential for adaptation by other Indigenous communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Elders
  • Native American
  • Suicide prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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