Billboard campaign aims to fight drugs
By Nicole Smith
A brand-new billboard in LCO has made its debut by the LCO Behavioral Health Department, featuring LCO Honor the Earth princess Melena Potack. The goal of the billboard is to promote how important Ojibwe culture is to prevention of the many issues that are affecting the people in the LCO community.
A 2018 survey of the LCO community was conducted by the LCO Behavioral Health Prevention team, through the Partnership for Success grant.
"We surveyed 333 community members ages 12 and up, who answered questions related to drugs, alcohol and culture," said Jennifer Petit, Substance Use Disorder Counselor. "A direct correlation was found between participating in culture and traditions and reporting using little to no substances."
Alicia Cross, Prevention Coordinator at the LCO Behavioral Health Department asked Melena Potack and Memphis DeMain who is Honor the Earth Brave,to participate in the campaign. Both individuals actively portray the model of youth in the community who live substance-free lives and are actively participating in Ojibwe culture.
"The grant we work under are youth focused and it is nice to have youth in their regalia practicing culture and serving as role models to the LCO community," said Alicia Cross.
Melena Potack is featured on the billboard, she is a senior at the LCO Ojibwe School and will be attending Haskell Indian Nations University in the fall. Melena's plans include receiving a degree in Psychology and returning to LCO to help her community.
"I work with the youth and I do my best by helping to guide them in the right direction," said Melena. "I represent the LCO School and recently I was able to travel to San Diego to a native youth conference."
Melena explained that to her culture means going to ceremonies, helping her family and participating in powwows.
Memphis DeMain and Melena will appear together on posters throughout the community in the 'Culture is Our Anti-Drug' campaign.
The photos were taken at Pipestone by Jennifer Petit.