Purpose This study was conducted in support of a proposed Federal initiative to promote the quality of life (QOL) of American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth. The goal of the study was to collect and organize existing information and to develop a set of recommendations to assist in the development of coordinated Federal policy. Methods Data collection efforts were limited to the study's two month period of performance and included bibliographic research, and solicitation of information from Federal agencies and national Indian organizations. A number of bibliographic resources - MEDLINE, PsychINFO, etc, - were searched to identify information pertaining to QOL and welfare of AI/AN youth. Federal agency data were provided by a subcommittee of the Domestic Policy Council Working Group on Indian Affairs. Major national Indian organizations provided data, resolutions, and position papers relevant to the AI/AN youth initiative. Based on review and evaluation of information collected in this review, a set of fundamental concepts were developed Results The status of AI/AN youth is presented in each of five QOL components and recommendations for development of the proposed initiative are described. Elements critical to understanding the threats to and the factors promoting QOL for AI/AN youth are as follows: 1) quality of life concepts; 2) health; 3) Indian education; 4) employment, economic development, and poverty; 5) environment; and 6) justice and law enforcement. Conclusion Amelioration of the QOL of AI/AN youth and that of their communities will require coordinated systematic efforts by the Federal government in the context of Indian self-determination. The Federal government, in consultation with the tribes and Alaska Native villages and their representatives, should develop a coordinated, systematic initiative to improve the QOL of AI/AN youth. There should be a well-defined, coordinated execution of the youth initiative by Federal agencies. The Federal government, in consultation with the tribes and Alaska Native villages, should develop and implement a plan to collect, maintain, and make accessible information of AI/ANs.
Indian Health Service, Staff Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research, Rockville, MD 20857.
Brenneman G. Final report - profile of the state of Indian children and youth. Indian Health Service, Staff Office of Planning, Evaluation and Research, Rockville, MD 20857. 1997