Katherine A. Spilde
BASIS Online, Division on Addiction, Cambridge Health Alliance
Publication year: 2014


Academic research suggests that when tribal leaders and community members create their own agenda based on deep local knowledge, the economic and health outcomes surpass those of projects imposed by well-intentioned outsiders who lack a connection to both the context and the outcomes. Often, attempts to “help” tribal communities recover from gambling addiction or other health problems assume that strategies and behaviors that work in other communities will find similar success in tribal communities. When tribal communities fail to embrace these borrowed “best practices” they are sometimes seen as resistant or in denial. Like many others across disciplines, I continue to be impressed with the work of tribal nations and simply want to be mindful in balancing my urge to “get involved” with the more patient approach wherein I allow Indian Country to show me how people and communities heal, where and when… read more.