IA2 staff member Jolie Crowder and President Bill Benson were invited by the U.S. Administration for Community Living (ACL) earlier this month to present findings from their 1,000 Grandmothers: Infant Safe Sleep project and share a newly released curriculum and project resources with conference participants from ACL-funded Native elder agencies (Title VI) .
Crowder and Benson shared information about a successful intergenerational program that brings together Native grandmothers to serve as mentors for young Indian mothers to help prevent Sudden Unexplained Infant Deaths (SUID) while engaging in traditional tribal activities. Indian Country’s rates of sudden unexplained infant death rates are 3-4 times higher than that of whites. The pilot project found that elders, who are trusted and respected source of knowledge and wisdom, can make a difference in the lives of young mothers and babies in their communities. Lessons learned from IA2’s experience working with four tribal communities around the country who participated in a pilot (NC, MI, ND) were discussed. A copy of the step-by-step, practical guide to implementing this program was provided.
The 1,000 Grandmothers: Infant Safe Sleep was a jointly conducted project by IA2 and the Michigan Public Health Institute, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The pilot project was implemented in geographically and culturally diverse tribes—the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians in North Dakota, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians in North Carolina, and the Hannahville Indian Community (Potawatomie), and the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians—both in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.