Injuries are the most common cause of death for Montanans ages 1-49. For Montana’s Native people, the rate of death from traffic injuries is more than double the state-wide rate. This problem is not unique to Montana: a recent brief from the National Congress of American Indians finds that American Indians and Alaska Natives experience the highest rate per capita of injury and injury-related death of any racial/ethnic group in the U.S.
Many of these injuries and deaths are preventable: the brief provides an excellent summary of actions that tribes and tribal organizations are taking to accomplish this. Among several examples of successful injury prevention programs, the brief cites the remarkable achievements of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho tribes of Wyoming’s Wind River Reservation. Led by tribal transportation director Big John Smith, the tribes implemented a series of injury prevention initiatives and roadway improvements. Data from the Wyoming DOT showed a reduction in injuries from 63 to 10 after implementation of these improvements.
Read the brief here.