BEE HEARD: Native American Heritage Month!  

Photo Credit: Native Connections

That might sound a little weird to say it like that, “Happy NAHM!” But we should be happy. Yes, we as Native Americans, as indigenous people of these lands, have been through so much since our creation, but that just proves one thing: We are RESILIENT! We are resilient people who, thanks to our ancestors, have made it to this point in time. Yes, we recognize and talk about history but sometimes it is focused on all the negative things that have happened to us. This is an opportunity for us to remember our teachings from our ancestors and to keep moving forward. So, let’s take a step forward together. 

We want our children and their children to be here generations from now, right? We want our language and culture to be carried on, right? We want our people to remember their ancestors and ancestral lands, right? How can we help make that happen? There are many ways we can do this but let’s focus on one important way for this article – forgiveness. 

Remember the past and take the lessons forward. Forgiveness is hard. Especially when it involves some of the historical traumas and events that happened to our people. Maybe it’s something our own people, family, friends, or community did to us. No matter what it is, forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for us. Forgiving someone or people doesn’t mean we are forgetting what happened, or that we are weak, or it’s our fault or responsibility to forgive. It’s the exact opposite. According to the, “forgiveness helps us heal.” Holding on to the negative thoughts, anger, and resentment can negatively affect us physically, emotionally, and mentally. 

Forgiveness has been proven to have health benefits such as lower blood pressure, reduced anxiety, and even improved self-esteem. Forgiveness also allows us to learn healthy ways to think about ourselves and others, seeing that others do not have the power to affect us negatively. We have an opportunity this month to recognize our past for the good and bad, to celebrate and thank our ancestors for giving us life, and to forgive. Forgive ourselves, others, and things that negatively affected our way of life, our culture, language, etc. That is going to be an important key to our future, especially a healthy future for our Ute People.  

Reclaiming and picking up where our ancestors left off.

“Culture is Prevention” is a great way of thinking for our community and those who work in programs that provide services, information, and support to our Native community on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation. We can reclaim, relearn, and pick up where our ancestors left off so that our way of living, thinking, behaving, and doing can be taken into the future. We all belong to this way of thinking. We all have a role in our culture surviving. Help us pick up where our ancestors left off. 

For more information on how our program will implement “Culture is Prevention” here on the Southern Ute Indian Reservation, please contact the Southern Ute Native Connections Program at the Behavioral Health Division 970-563-5700. We would love your support and input!

Don’t forget to check out our positive norming flyer in this issue: “We are Ute. We all belong.” 


Culture Forward: A Strengths and Culture Based Tool to Protect our Native Youth from Suicide. Sept. 30, 2021

Healthline: How to Forgive.  April 27, 2020. 



  • Southern Ute Health Center Behavioral Health Division: (New Location And Phone Number) 4101 CR 222 Durango, CO 970-563-5700. For local Native Americans. We are here to support mental health, substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery. Call to schedule an appointment to talk to someone.  
  • Southern Ute Division of Social Services: 116 Capote Dr., Ignacio, CO 970-563-2331 or for local Native Americans needing assistance with child welfare needs and family support. 
  • Southern Ute Police Dept.: Anonymous Tip Hotline Do you have information about a crime? Please call 970-563-4999. This “Tip Line” was designed to allow you the ability to provide law enforcement with information, anonymously, if need be, regarding criminal, drug, or suspicious activity. The “Tip Line” is monitored around the clock by SUPD Investigators, but it DOES NOT replace 9-1-1 or the non-emergency police number 970-563-4401.
  • St. Ignatius Catholic Church: Pastor Cesar Arras, 14826 CO-172, Ignacio, CO 970-563-4241.
  • Ignacio Community Church: Pastor Randall Haynes 405 Browning Ave, Ignacio, CO 970-759-3633 
  • Second Wind Fund of the Four Corners: Believes that every child and youth at risk of suicide should have access to the mental health treatment they need. We match children and youth at risk for suicide with licensed therapists in their communities, 720-962-0706.
  • Women’s Resource Center: Creates personal, social, and professional growth opportunities for all women in La Plata County, 970-247-1242.


  • 24/7 Axis Crisis Line – SW Colorado: 970-247-5245 or Text 741741
  • Colorado Crisis Line: 844-493-8255 or Text “TALK” to 38255. You’ll immediately be put in contact with a trained counselor, ready to text with you about anything.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Has both an online chat and a 24/7 phone line at 1-800-273-8255 if you are thinking of suicide or need help for a loved one.
  • The Trevor Project: Which seeks to serve LGBT youth, has a 24/7 suicide prevention line at 866-488-7386.
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