Title

The Native Comic Book Project: native youth making comics and healthy decisions

Publication Date

4-1-2012

Document Type

Article

Abstract

BACKGROUND: American Indians and Alaska Natives have traditionally used stories and drawings to positively influence the well-being of their communities. OBJECTIVES: The objective of this study was to describe the development of a curriculum that trains Native youth leaders to plan, write, and design original comic books to enhance healthy decision making. METHODS: Project staff developed the Native Comic Book Project by adapting Dr. Michael Bitz's Comic Book Project to incorporate Native comic book art, Native storytelling, and decision-making skills. After conducting five train-the-trainer sessions for Native youth, staff were invited by youth participants to implement the full curriculum as a pilot test at one tribal community site in the Pacific Northwest. Implementation was accompanied by surveys and weekly participant observations and was followed by an interactive meeting to assess youth engagement, determine project acceptability, and solicit suggestions for curriculum changes. RESULTS: Six youths aged 12 to 15 (average age = 14) participated in the Native Comic Book Project. Youth participants stated that they liked the project and gained knowledge of the harmful effects of commercial tobacco use but wanted better integration of comic book creation, decision making, and Native storytelling themes. CONCLUSION: Previous health-related comic book projects did not recruit youth as active producers of content. This curriculum shows promise as a culturally appropriate intervention to help Native youth adopt healthy decision-making skills and healthy behaviors by creating their own comic books.

Publication Title

Journal of Cancer Education

Volume

27

Issue

1 Suppl

First Page

S41

Last Page

S46

DOI

10.1007/s13187-012-0311-x

Version

open access