The Pascua Yaqui Tribe’s, Health Services Division is seeking refunding through the CDC’s Tribal Practices for Wellness in Indian Country grant. This submission will allow Sewa U’usim Community Partnership (lead agency) to continue the Yoemtuwame Project (“Being Hiaki (Yaqui) or being one’s true self). The purpose of the Yoemtuwame project is to enhance Tribal practices in programs that promote health and wellbeing and build resiliency in children, youth, and families; increasing Tribal members’ sense of connection to the community, family and culture that, over the longer term, will lead to healthier Yaqui families and communities; post-COVID creating a new normal for healthy living and lifestyle choices. Outcomes: the ultimate aim of the proposed project is to increase Pascua Yaqui Tribal member’s resilience and use of cultural practices to reduce morbidity/mortality due to diseases such as: diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer, as well as increase mental and emotional welling among community members. The project is proposing to focus on the following strategies: Strategy 1: Family and community activities that connect cultural teachings to health and wellness; Strategy 5: Cultural teachings and practices about traditional healthy foods to promote health, sustenance, and sustainability; and Strategy 6: Traditional and contemporary physical activities that strengthen wellbeing.
Unfortunately, the Pascua Yaqui Tribe have a lower than average life expectancy in comparison to Pima County and Arizona, by nearly three decades. Additionally, diabetes is the number one cause of death among the community, which is on the other end of the spectrum for Pima County and Arizona. In light of these statistics, the Yoemtuwame project will expand and integrate Tribal practices that promote health and wellbeing to build resiliency and connections to community, family and culture-known protective factors against chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, and mental health. The project will incorporate Yoeme language, history, and culture into new and existing programs, such as the Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country (a current grant overseen by Sewa U’usim), to improve traditional wellness practices among youth, families, and community members. The project will continue to bring together the resources and programs of the Wellness Center, Diabetes Prevention and Treatment Program as well as local subject matter experts, Elders, cultural leaders, and community leaders.