CSKT COVID-19 Youth Challenge uses social media to bring awareness to youth

Posted at 2:43 PM, Jul 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 13:08:03-04

Three weeks ago MTN News showed you how Foreshadow a Salish and Blackfeet rapper joined the Confederated Salish Kootenai Tribe’s COVID-19 Youth campaign but why and how did the campaign get started?

Michelle Mitchell, the Department Head for Tribal Education for CSKT says that the department heads of tribal leadership decided to create a committee in March to reach out to the youth on the reservation about the importance of preventing the spread of coronavirus.

“People were going to council members and saying you know the kids are playing three on three and the kids aren't taking this serious and because it wasn’t effecting them personally then the message wasn’t getting to them and we all recognized was that the channels we communicate through don’t reach them," said Mitchell.

Mitchell and the committee created the youth challenge on TikTok and brought together different music artists to spread the seriousness of COVID-19.

“Remind them who they are, remind them where they are and remind them about the importance of taking care of each other," said Mitchell.

Mitchell hopes to instill the importance of how COVID-19 will impact the elders in the tribal community with the youth of CSKT.

“I personally know people that have COVID-19 so it’s not them out there, it’s it’s us it is done exactly what we feared it would do and so now it’s really important that we follow those things. You get this message that people take it seriously so that we really can protect our most vulnerable because without that we lose everything that we are, we lose our language, we lose our culture if our elders get hit by this we are in trouble and so we’ve got to do everything we can to protect them and the sick and the children and that’s exactly who we are as true tribal people and always have been," said Mitchell.

But one aspect of the challenge is the TikTok challenge which the artist of the week announces on their own account having kids dance or follow the artists challenge.

“The kids between the ages of 12 to 18 have the opportunity to win a 100-dollar gift card if they get the most likes and the most views," said Mitchell.

Mitchell hopes to have more indigenous musical artists join in the campaign, if you are interested you can find more information on CSKT’S website.