Tribal Tobacco Advocacy Toolkit

Community Engagement > Grassroots Movements:

Grassroots Movements

Grassroots movements engage ordinary local people to work together to create change. Working from the “grassroots” allows coalitions to literally be grounded by the people with the most to gain from a change or most to lose without a change. Oftentimes it’s the “ordinary people” that bring the most passion and commitment to coalitions. Your grassroots coalition members are the eyes and ears on the ground communicating what’s happening.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Find a devoted leader (or two) to organize the coalition.
  2. Define the goal and objectives of the coalition (what you want to accomplish).
  3. Discuss and learn why each member is at the table. Ask why they are passionate about achieving the goal.
  4. Identify reasonable expectations for members. These may change over time.
  5. Recruit members.

Action

Start with whatever you have, even if it doesn’t seem like much. With passion and commitment, your grassroots movement will take shape as long as you stick with it!

Resources

Learn about the grassroots movement that grew into the Standing Rock resistance encampment that drew national attention.


What if?

You can’t find a leader

  • Be the leader!

Members disagree…

  • Vote!

Hints

  • Avoid hierarchical structures, like presidents, secretaries, etc. to keep everyone on an equal playing ground.
  • Allow everyone’s opinions to be heard.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

A group of adults and children advocating for air free from tobacco smoke. A girl holding a handwritten card that says, "My brother and friend have asthma, and smoking makes them sick."

Goal (your big dream)

  • Reduce the tobacco disparity of CRST.

Objective (how you’ll achieve it)

  1. Educate youth on the dangers of commercial tobacco to prevent tobacco use.
  2. Advocate for smoke-free air policies to protect CRST from secondhand smoke.
  3. Support tobacco users to quit.
  4. Encourage and educate family/friends to advocate for smoke-free air policies.

Community Engagement > Coalition Recruitment:

Coalition Recruitment

Get the right people to the table to ensure that your coalition reaches all stakeholders, viewpoints, and subgroups that exist in your community. Identifying who in your community is valued can be helpful. To the Lakota, children and elders are sacred, so this was a critical role to fill at our table. A power vs. interest grid is a helpful tool to identify potential coalition members to recruit. Current members should be involved in this discussion and encouraged to bring a friend or two to meetings. Many people will come and go as their interests or positions change, so it’s important to never stop recruiting.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Complete a power vs. interest grid.
  2. Make a list of desired people to recruit (diversity is important).
  3. Challenge current members to invite people from your list.
  4. Reassess membership at least once a year.

Action

Set a timeframe for recruitment and invite members to the first meeting.

Materials needed

  • Invitation card with details on the coalition goal
  • Expected time commitment
  • What they can expect to gain
  • Personal message about why this person is valuable to the coalition

Resources

For ideas on who to partner with and resources available, visit the Resources and Partners page.


What if?

People don’t come after being invited…

  • Have another person invite them. Sometimes it takes the right person and the right timing, so don’t give up.
  • Ask them if there’s another person in a similar role they would recommend.

Hints

  • Get as much contact information as possible for all members.
  • Once a member, always a member—members may lose touch temporarily, but may come back if they continue to be informed and invited to meetings or events.
  • Try to meet them face-to-face. It helps develop a relationship.
  • Ask everyone to introduce themselves anytime there’s a new person at the table.
  • Try to recruit coalition members with connections to desired partners and decision makers (e.g. relative or friend of tribal council member, police officer, healthcare provider, and any community champions).
  • Ask current members to bring a friend.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

Lakota members at meeting. A Lakota elder holding a handwritten card that says, "Please...don't smoke."

Member expectations


Community Engagement > Coalition Retention:

Coalition Retention

Recruiting coalition members is the first step. It’s equally critical to retain your members and keep them engaged in the coalition’s work. Treat all coalition members as a team and make sure they know their opinions and ideas are valued. Listen to their desires, and try to incorporate them. Let the members guide the discussions. 

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Allow many opportunities for members to be involved in events and activities.
  2. Recognize members who go above and beyond with an award, thank you note, or acknowledgement during a meeting.
  3. Invite members to be involved in setting goals and objectives during meetings.

Action

Identify 2-3 people to work on coalition membership list, retention, and recognition.

Materials needed

  • Simple gift or plaque for members who go above and beyond

Resources


What if?

Members don’t engage regularly…

  • That’s ok! Meet them where they are (figuratively) and let them know you’re happy to accept whatever they can offer, even if that’s just a quick phone call to a decision maker or periodic attendance at events.

You start losing members…

  • Ask former members for advice on changes they would recommend (e.g. meeting time or location, events or activities they would like to see, different objectives, etc.)
  • Set aside time for members to share why they are involved as a reminder to themselves and others.

Hints

  • A little appreciation can go a long way! Write personal thank you notes to members who volunteer or partners who support your coalition.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

The Čaŋlí Coalition honors members or partners who go above and beyond with a “Čaŋlí Champion” award, a small traditional gift, and their name on a plaque that hangs in our meeting room.

Community Engagement > Coalition Meetings:

Coalition Meetings

Coalition meetings are a time to empower, learn, inspire, connect, update, and brainstorm.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Make an agenda (previous events/activities updates, upcoming events/activities planning, new events/activities or goals discussion). Explore the Čaŋlí Coalition’s Meeting Agenda.
  2. Set meeting details (location, date, time, prioritize agenda items).
  3. Communicate meeting details at least 1 week in advance (email, social media, or phone calls work great).
  4. Communicate meeting details again within 24 hours of meeting.
  5. Prepare agendas, handouts, food (as appropriate), and meeting space.
  6. Ask an elder to make a statement/prayer before the meetings so you can start off in a good way.

Action

Guide coalition members through the meeting agenda making sure to involve those at the meeting and, when possible, those who were unable to attend. Identify action steps needed, who is responsible for what, and deadlines. Set the next coalition meeting date.

Materials needed

  • Meeting space
  • Beverages, meal, or snacks
  • Printed agenda, extra pens, and handouts

Resources


Follow-up

  • What went well? What didn’t go well?
  • What changes are needed for the next meeting?
  • Where do we go from here? Who is responsible for what?

What if?

Coalition members attend, but don’t volunteer for activities/events…

  • Ask for volunteers, then count to 10 (slowly). Allow time for members to break the silence first.
  • If no one steps up, don’t be afraid to ask a specific person for help. Explain what value you think they would bring and explain how you will support them.

Coalition members disagree…

  • Set the expectation at the beginning of every meeting that everyone’s opinion is valued, but all members are expected to treat each other respectfully.
  • Talk to members individually to try to understand their viewpoint and set boundaries.

No one shows up…

  • Do not let this bring you down—find another way to send out the information. Refer to the coalition recruitment and coalition retention sections.
  • Reach out to members you lost to thank them for the previous commitment and ask if there’s something you can do to make it easier for them to be involved again.

Hints

group photo of coalition members at a meeting
  • Let your members be the “boots on the ground” to spread the word through 1:1 conversations, and to distribute event flyers, educational materials, signs, etc.
  • Help members find their role. Learn what is and is not in their comfort zone (public speaking, behind the scenes planning, art/design, working with kids) and find a role that they feel good in.
  • Express gratitude to volunteers and acknowledge what they did to everyone. This should encourage the person recognized to volunteer again and motivate other members to do their part.
  • Celebrate successes (big and small) together at coalition meetings.
  • Communicate the next meeting date so members can add it to their calendar.

Community Engagement > Collect Local Surveys:

Collect Local Surveys

Data drives policy. Gathering relevant data can be difficult and time consuming, or straightforward and quick. Having local data that is specific to the community is valuable to support your coalition’s goal. Determine what is needed in your community and what you have the capacity (time and funds) to achieve. If you have limited resources to do a local survey, explore the Find State or National Data section.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Determine your methods for collecting the survey.
    1. What? Paper surveys or online surveys.
    2. How? Door-to-door, survey booth (at grocery store, basketball game, etc.), or online via social media or SurveyMonkey.com.
    3. Where? Go to all tribal communities, set up at an event where many tribal communities are represented, or focus on the largest communities.
    4. Who? Whoever visits your survey booth/sites. Or, you may have a specific target audience such as: youth, adults, or key stakeholders such as businesses, school administrators, elected tribal officials, etc.
  2. Discuss topic areas to include in the survey and specific outcomes you hope to learn.
    1. Does your local community support your goal, proposed change, or policy?
    2. How big is the problem?
    3. How big does the public believe the problem is?
  3. Draft your survey questions and possible responses.
  4. Invite coalition members and partners to test your survey before finalizing it.
  5. Collect surveys.
  6. Look to see what the survey results show.
  7. Summarize the results in a document and disseminate them.

Materials needed

  • Laptop computers or iPads, and a WiFi connection for online surveys
  • Paper and copy machine for printed surveys
  • Data collectors (paid or unpaid), coalition members, Community Health Representatives (CHRs), or high school or college students
  • Pens and clipboards
  • A flyer or card with your coalition name to promote your cause and recruit new membership

Resources


Follow-up

  • What went well ? What didn’t go well?
  • What stories does the data tell about your community?

What if?

You don’t have the resources to do the type of survey you want…

You have few who participate in your survey…

  • If you chose paper surveys, revisit the “How?” and “Where?” from planning step 1 and try another method. If you choose online surveys try other ways of promoting it, like email blasts or other social media platforms. Also, consider adding an incentive, like a prize drawing for people who participate.

The results don’t show what you expect…

  • Discuss if the results could be inaccurate or biased (e.g. participants were not representative of the entire community, or questions were difficult to understand).

Hints

  • Start with a small survey at a location where people will come and go from (e.g. outside post office, grocery store, etc.) and ask for people’s opinions related to your goal and collect the responses on a clipboard tally sheet
  • Invite decision-makers to be involved in planning and discussions about the survey—the results they are interested in may be very different from the results you are looking for.
  • Using paper surveys is convenient, but requires data entry and analysis which can be challenging for someone without experience. To make this easier, you may opt to use one paper survey with tally marks for each person’s response. Using online survey tools like Survey Monkey or Google Forms will eliminate the need for data entry and allow the user to create reports, which will simplify analysis.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

group photo of the 2012 CRST tobacco survey team; a man at a grocery store collecting surveys.

With support from research partners, we conducted a large scale American Indian Adult Tobacco Survey (AI-ATS) with 400 tribal members to learn about tobacco use in our community and opinions on smoke-free air policies. View a summary of our local survey results.

To assess how well businesses were enforcing CRST’s Smoke-Free Air Ordinance 77, we worked with high school interns to complete observations forms on the presence of no smoking signs, cigarette butts, or people smoking near public buildings. View a summary of our business observation results.

We also conducted small scale assessments with all tobacco retailers on the Cheyenne River Reservation to learn about the tobacco products available, prices/promotions, and advertising. This information was used to help inform tobacco retailers about ways to avoid selling to a minor. View a summary of our tobacco retailer assessment results.

Community Engagement > Find State or National Data:

Find State or National Data

While local data is preferred by many tribes, it may not be feasible to obtain. In that case, finding state or national data is the next best option.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Identify what data is needed:
    1. Evidence that your issue is important
    2. Evidence that there is a problem
    3. Evidence that your policy will create change
  2. Search for data from organizations related to your topic of interest (e.g. American Lung Association, American Cancer Society, State Department of Health, etc.). See Resources & Partners for more ideas.
  3. Search for data from organizations related to your population of interest (e.g. Regional Tribal Epi Centers, National Indian Health Board, CDC Office of Tribal Affairs, other tribes with more experience/data, etc.). See Resources & Partners for more ideas.
  4. Identify what questions are most meaningful to support your goal.
  5. Compile the results into a report and share them with coalition and community members, Tribal leaders, and other stakeholders.

Resources


Follow-up

  • What data is missing?
  • Did the data lead to a new problem that should become a priority?

What if?

You struggle to narrow down what you’re looking for and feel overwhelmed…

  • Just start searching and the convincing data will jump out at you.
  • Ask key stakeholders what data would be important to them.
  • Attend a conference related to your topic or population.

Hints

  • An epidemiologist from your State Department of Health or a University is a great resource.
  • Not everything found on the internet can be trusted—make sure data sources are reliable.
  • Create local statistics using national data.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

CDC infographic about the number of children alive today who will die from tobacco-related illnesses. Canli Coalition graphic that says 1 in 6 kids on the Cheyenne River Reservation will die from tobacco if we don't make a change.
  • National statistic:
    19% smoking rate =
    1 in 13 children
    will die from smoking
  • Local statistic:
    51% smoking rate =
    1 in 6 children
    will die from smoking

Community Engagement > Share Data in a Meaningful Way:

Share Data in a Meaningful Way

All data tells a story. Find out what the story is and share it in a way that moves your community and/or your decision makers. Data is only useful if it is made available and disseminated in a meaningful way.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Identify methods to share your data/story:
    1. What? A report, publication, infographic, poster, flyer, or video.
    2. How and Where? Explore the Digital Media and Social Media sections.
    3. Challenge all volunteers to memorize one statistic that is meaningful to them and share it with others. Organize a media campaign contest that focuses on a few key statistics.
    4. Sign up to present at conferences and meetings, or host lunch & learn sessions for your target audience.

Materials needed

Resources

Be inspired by Abigail Echo-Hawk, Director of the Urban Indian Health Institute, as she discusses research and data from the perspective of traditional storytelling in her “Indigenous Research as Storytelling” RED Talk. Her story demonstrates the need for research to understand the cultural and community needs of indigenous people.


Follow-up

  • Did sharing the data/stories result in the desired outcome or help move your goal forward?
  • What feedback did volunteers get on the materials and how can they be improved?
  • Was there any key data or stories missing?

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

newspaper ad and infographic promoting smoke-free air

We used opinion data from a locally conducted study to create an infographic and newspaper ad that showed significant community support for smoke-free air policies in public places.

To include cultural lifeways… we used our sacred ones (children and elders) in our photos.

Community Engagement > Give the Community a Reason to Care:

Give the community a reason to care

Raising awareness within your community by using an educational or call-to-action message is a great way to gather support for your goal. The key to raising community-level awareness is to think “local” and make messages personal. Involving the community is key before implementing any policy. Members of the community and Tribal leaders will be more accepting if they know what is coming and have some time to process it. When policies are implemented without community input, it may be difficult to pass or may be poorly enforced.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Identify local celebrities or role models (e.g. coaches/athletes, respected elders, kids, artists, tribal leaders, elected officials) willing to speak out on your issue.
  2. Create awareness materials using familiar faces, locations, or names.
  3. Disseminate awareness materials with help from volunteers. Explore the Digital Media and Social Media sections.

Action

Give your community a reason to care by putting the most influential people and messages front and center.

Resources

Watch the “Kids vs. Big Tobacco” RED Talk. CRST showed some local school children a mix of tobacco and candy we bought at local stores. They wondered if the kids could tell the difference with the bright colors, flashy designs, and flavors. Just who is Big Tobacco trying to fool?


Hints

  • Define your target audience because messages will generally vary based on who your target is.
  • Let your volunteers be the “boots on the ground” when it comes to dissemination of physical materials (brochures, posters, flyers, etc.). Before coalition meetings, prepare a stack of materials marked with the delivery location marked. Go through the stack one by one until all materials have been spoken for.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

photo of Lakota college volleyball player; a newspaper ad that says, "Respect and honor your loved ones by making your home smoke-free."

We gave candles to tribal decision makers to honor someone they care about who suffered or died from a tobacco-related disease. With a 51% smoking rate, no one has been untouched by the devastation of tobacco.

We also reached out to a well-known college athlete from our tribe who was very willing to provide a photo and statement about her choice to be tobacco-free.

To include cultural lifeways… we applied the Lakota virtues (e.g. honor, respect, or sacrifice) in our messaging.

Community Engagement > Newspaper:

Newspaper

The newspaper is a great location to share your message because it can be free or low cost, and multiple people will likely read one printed newspaper. Think about the people that read the newspaper in your community. Is it an older generation or people of all ages? Do low income families have access to the newspaper?

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Choose your topic.
  2. Determine the type of newspaper article your message is best suited for:
    1. Editorial – informs the reader on a topic
    2. Op-Ed – an opinion piece that declares a position on an issue from a professional working in the topic area
    3. Letter to the Editor – also an opinion piece (usually shorter than Op-Eds) from a general newspaper reader
    4. Local News – covers an event or activity
    5. Educational Article – shares facts related to a topic
    6. Paid Advertisement – a visual or graphic on an issue or event
  3. Make an outline for the article:
    1. Headline – Briefly grab the reader’s attention.
    2. Introduction – Begin with a sentence that tells what the article is about, then support the lead sentence with more detail to engage the reader.
    3. Body – Break down main ideas into paragraphs and include relevant data.
    4. Conclusion – Tie together main ideas and summarize the entire article.
  4. Share your article with a few others to review and edit.
  5. Submit to the newspaper.

Action

Rather than wait for a newspaper reporter to cover your topic of interest, write your own article and submit related photos! Small newspapers are especially appreciative of submitted articles.

Resources


Hints

  • Be concise and to the point. Put your main points in the first sentence of each paragraph so a reader who only skims can still follow the overall ideas.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

Newspaper clipping from the Native Sun News. Headline reads, "Canli Coalition pursues smoke-free policy on Cheyenne River Reservation."
 Čaŋlí Coalition pursues smoke-free policy on Cheyenne River Reservation
Newspaper clipping with headline that reads, "Big Tobacco brings fight to Canli Coalition's doorstep."
Big Tobacco brings fight to Čaŋlí Coalition’s doorstep.
Newspaper clipping that reads, "Choose smoke-free autos."
Choose smoke-free autos.

Community Engagement > Radio:

Radio

Radio programs or ads can be costly, but have the potential to reach several thousand people. Similar to recommendations in the newspaper section, think about the people that listen to the radio in your community and adjust your message to fit that population.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning a radio program

  1. Choose a topic.
  2. For radio programs:
    1. Recruit volunteers to participate or ask someone to cover your topic. (Maybe a radio MC or someone who already has a radio program related to your topic?)
    2. Prepare resource packets for program participants. Encourage them to get familiar with the topic and highlight areas of interest to speak on.
    3. Make an outline with estimated times for specific components.
    4. Promote your program before it is aired.
    5. Go live or pre-record the program. Listen to a sample radio program recording.
  3. For radio ads/public service announcements (PSAs):
    1. Recruit youth volunteers to make a public service announcement (PSA) and get written parental permission for minors. See the Čaŋlí Coalition media release form.
    2. Discuss the topic with the youth and give them a few statistics to inspire them. Encourage them to speak on a topic they are passionate about.  It will be easier for them and their passion will come through to radio listeners.
    3. Support the volunteers to put their thoughts in writing:
      I’m [insert first name] from [town/tribe/school]. This is what I think about [topic]. This message is brought to you by [insert coalition name with funding from___].
    4. Record the youth reading their statement or arrange for them to record at the radio station.
    5. Give the recording to the radio station to mix your ad/PSA. Listen to Example 1 and Example 2 of Čaŋlí Coalitions’ radio PSAs.
    6. Air your ad/PSA.

Materials Needed

  • Smartphone with an audio recorder app and lapel mic
  • Educational resources for volunteers

Resources


What if?

You or your volunteers are intimidated about being on the radio.

  • Give reassurance that it will be easier and more fun than they expect. (We promise!)
  • Prepare volunteers with resources and practice.
  • There is safety in numbers. Have 2 or 3 volunteers record a PSA together.

Hints

  • Radio guests don’t have to be an expert on the topic. They just have to get familiar with resources from experts, or have a personal story to share on the topic.
  • Have fun on the radio and try to relax. A conversational radio program with Native humor will be engaging and genuine!
  • Request a recording of radio programs and reuse the audio content on social media, health fair booths, etc.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

KIPI radio banner; group photo of Canli Coalition members recording program at KIPI radio station
feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… Asked our team before radio programs what we can do/say to make the discussion more relevant to our tribal community as opposed to a radio discussion on the same topic for the general population.

Community Engagement > Digital Media:

Digital Media

A picture (or video) can be worth a thousand words and has potential to be a change agent. This can be done through digital note card stories or through photo-voice/digital storytelling—a process where people use video and/or photo images to capture pieces of their environment and experiences. Facts, captions, or audio recordings paired with the images bring the realities home to the public and policy makers to create change. (Social media is a form of digital media, but is covered in the social media section.)

Canli Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Recruit participants—one or two leaders and others to help tell/show your message.
  2. Have participants sign a media release form (if under age 18 a parent or legal guardian must sign).
  3. Prepare:
    1. Storyline—decide on the visuals and audio for each scene. View the Čaŋlí  Coalition’s template.
    2. Roles—who will take pictures or video, act, and edit.
  4. Get out and take photos/video—take multiple shots of each scene (close up, far away, different angles, etc.).
  5. Put it all together and share!

Materials needed

  • Media Release form
  • Photo/video equipment—camera or smartphone
  • Digital frame for note card stories
  • A video app or program to edit the video, such as iMovie

Resources


Follow-up

  • Did the digital media help the public develop a better understanding of the issue or create change?
  • Are there other stories that could be told using digital media?

Hints

  • Attend a PhotoVoice or Digital Storytelling Workshop to learn how to create short videos.
  • Watch a few YouTube videos to learn how to make videos. 
  • Enlist help from high school students with experience creating videos, graphics, or photography.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

photo of female Lakota teen holding tobacco talking cards; ad that says, "Keep cansasa sacred."

Note card stories were the Čaŋlí Coalition’s way of getting inspirational stories from local tribal members out in the community. Once we found someone willing to share a story, we helped them craft it into short sentences on large note cards. We then loaded the still photos onto digital picture frames and put them in waiting rooms (clinic, Department of Social Services, dentist, and etc.) throughout the reservation.

To include cultural lifeways we… incorporated Lakota language and traditional practices into digital media.

Community Engagement > Social Media:

Social Media

In the 21st Century, social media has become a tool to engage and mobilize a community and can be a way for your coalition to spread your message and expand your network. There are many different platforms to choose from—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat, to name a few. Ultimately, your coalition should choose a platform or two that are easiest to manage and likely to reach the most people in your community.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Choose a platform—if you’re not sure ask your volunteers (especially young adults) what is most commonly used in their community.
  2. Create an account, group, or page.
  3. Make your own URL if it’s an option (e.g. www.facebook.com/CanliCoalitionOfCRST).
  4. Complete the “about us” questions—a visitor should be able to figure out the coalition’s purpose in a few seconds.
  5. Create a “handle” so others can easily tag your coalition (e.g. @CanliCoalitionOfCRST).
  6. Post some original posts or photos and share some articles or videos that represent your coalition.
  7. Get followers—this can be done through social media invitations or by sharing to other groups in your community or groups with similar causes. Asking coalition members to invite their social media friends is a great way to grow followers for your cause.  
  8. Add to your page’s story. Followers will see those on their page before a post.
  9. Develop posts that require discussions—the more activity you get on a post, the more it is seen by non-followers.
  10. Pictures or videos showing your group in action is a great way to get comments, likes, and shares. This all helps grow your following audience.  
  11. Consider paying to promote or boost your post to an audience you select or to friends of friends.
  12. Keep posting at least a few times each week!

Resources


What if?

You don’t have experience with social media.

  • Ask any millennial (someone who became a young adult in the 21st century) for help!

You don’t have time to make posts regularly.

  • Many platforms allow you to pre-schedule multiple posts at a time.

Others post negative comments about your issue or coalition.

  • Closely monitor anything that could be controversial. Generally, your followers will step up and come to your defense. If this happens, it’s okay to let the discussion take place. If this doesn’t happen or if the comment is inappropriate or offensive, remove it and block the individual from your page.  
  • The more interaction you get on your page the more your information will get out beyond your followers. Remember that if it is getting a lot of attention and people are discussing in comments, you will gain new followers. As long as it is a healthy discussion, it is a good way to spread the word.

Hints

  • Use hashtags—this can help others find you, make it easier to keep track of your own posts, allow others to contribute to your message, and allow you to contribute to other’s messages (e.g. #FirstSmokeFreeRezSD, #NotJuulsTarget, #GreatAmericanSmokeOut)
  • Consider doing a live social media feed for events, meetings, or other work you do. Čaŋlí Coalition Facebook Page: scroll through posts to see live videos of meetings.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

screenshots of Canli Coalition's social media posts
feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… post frequently about traditional teachings related to tobacco, and use Lakota language and images that are customized to our target audience, which is Native American people.

Community Engagement > Banners/Billboards:

Banners/Billboards

Having a continuous visual presence lets your community members know that your work is ongoing and shows commitment to the issue. Keeping the issue in the forefront of an individual’s mind with banners or billboards can also help raise awareness, educate your community, and gain new supporters.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Choose your message (aim for less than 8 words for billboards).
  2. Brainstorm and obtain visuals—consider computer graphics, artwork, or photography.
    1. Consider a local contest for your design.
    2. Work with local artists.
  3. Secure a location to display your banner or billboard.
  4. Display your work!

Materials needed

  • High resolution image from a photographer
  • Printer and designer
  • Company to install billboards

Hints

  • It can be common to default to negative or scary messages/images (e.g. “1 in 6 kids will die from smoking if we don’t make a change”). Challenge yourself to keep the majority of your messages positive and encouraging (e.g. “Love yourself. Respect your family. Quit TODAY!”).
  • Contact other programs with billboards in your area to cost-share the travel expense for billboard installers.
  • Since banners are portable, change locations to hang them periodically to reach a new audience (e.g. schools, tribal buildings, clinics, or fitness centers).
  • Listen to what your community’s concerns and interest areas are. Customize banners or billboards that address those ideas.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

Čaŋlí Coalition members frequently got asked, “Why are you working so hard to address tobacco, when alcohol, drugs, and suicide are affecting more people?” Our members shared this concern about other threats to our tribal community, but used data and a banner to show the reality of how huge the tobacco problem is.

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… used images, values, and messages familiar to Lakota people (e.g. Tiwahe is Lakota for family, and the shell as an ashtray is commonly seen in our community).

billboard that says, "Protect the Tiwahe. Be tobacco-free. The Canli Coalition. Making CRST smoke-free."
banner that says, "Children are sacred. Protect their lungs from secondhand smoke!"

Community Engagement > Gaining Support:

Gaining Support

You may find it odd that policy advocacy is under community engagement and not in the policy circle. A policy is difficult to pass and enforce without engaging your community at every step of the process. The Čaŋlí Coalition has always stated that a policy will only be as strong as the community support behind it. This section fits nicely with the Raise Awareness section. The raising awareness section seeks to educate the public about the issue at hand, but this section covers advocating for a policy that will address the issue of concern.

Coalition Framework: Community Engagement

Planning

  1. Establish a deep lineup of advocates from all walks of life. Refer to Coalition Recruitment.
  2. Consider who/what is sacred and respected in your community and include that in your advocacy.
  3. Empower multiple generations (youth to elders) and all subpopulations (LGBTQ, low income, women, etc.) to know their voice is important. 
  4. Prepare advocates to share why they support the policy and relevant statistics.
  5. Ask volunteers to engage specific stakeholders.

What if?

An advocate struggles to influence a stakeholder.

  • Don’t give up! Approach them with a different perspective, at a different time, or with a different person. Maybe they were just having a bad day, had other priorities on their mind, or need to hear it from someone else. The key is to find their passion area for the issue at hand.

An advocate is not comfortable or too busy to approach a stakeholder in person.

  • That’s ok. They can still make a phone call, send a letter, email, or private message on social media.

Hints

  • No matter what stage you are at—trying to pass a policy, trying to enforce a policy, or trying to defend a policy—take on the responsibility to make sure your community knows the basics of the policy. See regular reminders on tips to keep the policy at the forefront of your community’s mind.
  • If you have proof your community supports the policy (e.g. data, personal testimonies, letters of support, or signatures) share this publicly!

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

Watch a video from empowered CRST youth advocates who spoke up to defend the threatened Smoke-Free Air Ordinance they helped pass.

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… made sure we had advocates who were considered sacred to the Lakota, such as children and elders, because their words and opinions are the most powerful.

group photo of Canli Coalition youth members

Education > School Presentations:

School Presentations

Young people will respond more favorably to lessons from their peers and role models rather than adults. Similarly, young empowered volunteers can have a very powerful impact on adults who need education. Having a group of students savvy on your topic to help educate the community is very valuable. These young volunteers need an adult to be the leader to help guide the process, provide the tobacco facts and supplies, and ensure that any problems that arise are solved. As the community becomes more knowledgeable about your topic, they will develop their own reason to care and invest in the issue.

Coalition Framework: Education

Planning

Resources

  1. Talk to school administrators to see if it is possible get a group of middle and high school students together to train who will serve as teen leaders to help educate their peers.
    1. An advisor for this group who works in the school is very helpful.
  2. Recruit young people who may be interested in educating peers.
  3. Train your youth volunteers so they feel knowledgeable and passionate about the subject matter.
    1. Teens Against Tobacco Use (TATU) is a school-based program where middle and high school students attend a tobacco training and use what they learn about tobacco to educate their peers. The South Dakota Department of Health Tobacco Control Program offers free TATU training to schools and mini grants to fund tobacco activities.
  4. 1 month before—Schedule and organize an educational presentation with school administration. Decide together which ages/grades presentations will be for, type of presentation needed, date/time for presentation, and answer other questions either of you may have.
    1. Event booth—Design a table with visuals aids and educational handouts to set up at a basketball game, parent-teacher conferences, etc.
    2. Classroom (15-30 students)
      • Video or book discussion—Choose an educational video, prepare questions to pause, and discuss throughout.
      • Curriculum lesson—Choose a lesson from a curriculum and follow the guidance.
      • Design your own lesson using credible and up-to-date sources and visual aids.
    3. Health fair (plan for 5-10 students per booth; e.g. if you have 6 booths you can accommodate 30-60 students at a time).
      • Break up subjects relevant to your topic and prepare a visual aid and talking points for volunteers to speak from.
    4. Assembly (60-100 students).
      • Create a skit or an activity suitable for a large group. Think about room acoustics and consider a PA system.
  5. Prepare and/or order any supplies needed for presentation.
  6. 1 week before—Follow-up with the school to make sure everything is coordinated with the students receiving the presentation and your volunteer students.
  7. 1 week before and day of—Prepare student volunteers and have a practice round to work the kinks out and to help your volunteer students feel comfortable with the material they are presenting.
  8. Present! Be prepared to step in to help if volunteers are asked a tough question or the audience gets rowdy.

Follow-up

  • What feedback did you get from administrators, teachers, students, or parents? What went well? If changes are needed how can you use feedback to make improvements?

What if?

Student volunteers feel unprepared or nervous.

  • Spend more time practicing and preparing.
  • As the adult with the volunteers, consider introducing the topic and setting the stage at the start of the presentation then turning it over to the youth volunteers. You also may need to assist with or lead the closing. Helping with the intro and closing can help volunteers feel more comfortable and able to present their part.
  • Consider if a different activity would be a better fit for your volunteers. Large audiences are much more intimidating than small groups.
  • Reschedule. It’s better to reschedule an event than to put unprepared volunteers on the spot.

You don’t have the means to coordinate peer to peer presentations.

  • Support teachers to educate their students on your topic.
    • Encourage teachers to work together on an interdisciplinary project (e.g. History teachers help students research the history of the topic. English teacher has students write an essay on the topic. Computer teacher works with students to turn their essay into a short video.)
    • If you have lesson plans, educational videos, or visual aids that can be borrowed, send an email at the beginning of each year to teachers so they know what’s available.

Hints

  • Student councils, gifted and talented programs, or improv and theater clubs are a good place to start when looking to recruit your youth educators.
  • If your local high school isn’t interested, seek out college students who are looking to build their resume or get volunteer hours.
  • Make sure your youth volunteers are credible. We require our TATU members to sign a “tobacco-free” pledge. By doing this, the tobacco users usually excuse themselves from volunteering.
  • If you’re unsure about the appropriate grade level for your presentation, get advice from grade-level teachers. 
  • Be cautious not to scare young students about health dangers, but teach them skills to advocate for themselves in a respectful way.
  • If you collect something shareable from students, like art, a quote, or photo, send a passive media release form home so parents have the opportunity to decline.
  • If the school requires a permission form for students to attend your presentation, see the Parent/Guardian Opt-Out Form.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… made our own lessons and visual aids on Ċanśaśa, the Lakota’s traditional tobacco, to honor and respect the cultural ways of our local population.

tobacco product packaging aimed at youth
two teachers presenting to a group of elementary children
Tobacco products aimed at kids. Replacement customers!

Education > Contests:

Contests

Contests can be used to educate members of a community you normally might miss. Contests also serve as a mechanism to gather educational materials and messages to disseminate in your community. Remember, the more the community understands, the more invested they’ll become in the issue.

Coalition Framework: Education

Planning

  1. Determine what your goals are for the contest (e.g. educate participants, collect local art/media, etc.).
  2. Choose a contest type and theme that suits your goals (see the hints below for more context).
    1. Coloring contest
    2. Video contest
    3. Open media contest 
    4. Social media contest
  3. Set your rules, prizes, and a deadline.
    1. Recruit sponsors for prizes, such as gift cards, t-shirts, and swag. See Give-Aways (Local, State or National Resources or Wearables & Shareables) for more ideas.
  4. Promote your contest. See an example from the Čaŋlí Coalition.
  5. Judge entries and select winners.
  6. Publicize winners on social media or in the newspaper.
  7. Put the winning entries to work! Visual winners can be used for posters, billboards, window clings, flyers, signs, or logos. Audio winners can be used on the radio, or turned into a video for social media.

Resources

  • Hawaii’s 808 No Vape campaign held a video contest “by and for youth” that resulted in amazing and hilarious videos that educate youth on vaping.

Follow-up

  • What is the best way to use/share winning entries?

What if?

You don’t get as many entries as you hoped for.

  • Extend the deadline and re-advertise. You might also consider a better prize.

Hints

  • Coloring contests
    • Speech/thought bubbles are a great way to let the students express their ideas. 
    • If you’re on a budget, email a pdf of the page to schools and ask them to print the pages and distribute to teachers.
    • Include educational information relevant to your topic on the back of the coloring page or in a separate handout for an adult to discuss with children.
  • Video contests
    • Set a time limit that works for you. Keep in mind that a lot can be communicated in a 30-60 second video.
    • Reach out to schools to find out if any classes are teaching video editing. Many teachers love projects like this for students.
    • Provide accurate data for them to draw inspiration from and to avoid old or unreliable data sources.
  • Social media contests
    • Challenge people to take selfies or photos with the billboards/banners and post to your social media page with a catchy hashtag (e.g. #NoCanliForMe or #IamTobaccoFree).
  • Open media contests
    • Expect drawings, photographs, videos, graphic design, poetry, music, etc.
  • In general, never promise to return entries to participants. Make it clear in the required media release form that submissions will not be returned and that participants authorize reproduction of their entry.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

We challenged local youth to create a 60 second video on tobacco prevention and control. See the winning video about keeping tobacco sacred on our Facebook page.

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… encourage incorporation of Lakota language, humor (coloring contest with a rez car), images (medicine wheel), and values (protect mother earth) in contest entries.

children's drawing of a car and a cigarette that says, "I must ask you not to smoke around me."
We are survivors of genocide. We had our culture, lands, and identity taken from us. And now, we hold the weapons to our destruction in our own hands. Big tobacco is not our way. Reclaim our strength. Stop smoking.
artwork drawing of Lakota person, feathers, and box of cigaretttes with the words, "If you seek it, rethink it!"

Education > Piggyback on National Events:

Piggyback on National Events

Gathering people (physically or virtually) for a common goal can be a great way to draw local attention to your issue, gain new supporters/followers, or connect with others throughout the nation. See Resources & Partners for details on national dates, such as Through with Chew in February, Take Down Tobacco in March, Red Ribbon Week in October, or the Great American SmokeOut in November.

Coalition Framework: Education

Planning

  1. Find a national event that fits your goal.
  2. Research the theme, promotion materials, and resources for your chosen event.
  3. Make a plan to promote the event and schedule presentations or informational booths.
  4. On the day of the event, present on the topic, set up educational tables with give-a-ways (visit Local, State or National Resources or Wearables & Shareables), schedule press releases, and take and share photos.

Resources


Hints

  • Use national resource campaign webpages for ideas and themes, but customize them to fit the needs and culture of your local community.
  • Use the national hashtags (ex. #TakeDownTobacco) and tag other events using the organizers handle (ex. @TakeDownTobacco) on social media to get wider coverage.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

We invited youth volunteers to record a radio PSA promoting the Great American SmokeOut.

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… used two of the Lakota values (honor and respect) in our event local poster.

National and Local Posters

Education > Walk & Talks:

Walk & Talks

Having “walks” through town with a drum group are popular events in Northern Plains tribal communities. Take walking for a cause a step further by hosting a “talk” at the end of the walk so people can become educated on tobacco prevention and have a chance to share how they or their family has been impacted by tobacco-related disease.

Coalition Framework: Education

Planning

  1. Set a date, time, route, and location for the talk.
  2. Find speakers for the talk – this can be a public health or healthcare professional or a local community member who has a powerful story to share.
  3. Request a police escort from law enforcement for traffic safety during the walk.
  4. Coordinate the walk leaders – consider a drum group in the back of a pickup or on a trailer, and large banners or posters for walkers to carry so on-lookers know what the walk is about.
  5. Hand out flyers with facts or if it fits in your budget, get give-aways that promote your message.
  6. Promote the Walk & Talk on social media, newspaper, radio, flyers and by inviting specific groups.
  7. Invite news reporters to cover the event.
  8. Day of the event.
    1. Set up a registration table to track participants and give information, water, and wearables.
    2. Designate one person to take and share photos or live feed for social media.
  9. Following the event – If news reporters don’t cover the event, submit a press release and photos to local newspapers. If you have leftover banners or posters, hang them up in a prominent location.

Materials needed

  • Something for participants to wear during the walk, like t-shirts, ribbons, or stickers (link to give-a-way section), or encourage them all to wear the same color
  • Pre-made posters/banners for walkers to carry or materials for participants to make their own poster
  • Water, light snacks and a first aid kit for walkers
  • Handouts for participants to read during the talk
  • PA system for talk (depends on room size and acoustics)

Hints

  • Tribes sometimes offer administrative leave for tribal employees to attend educational or wellness events. This can improve participation!
  • Having an open-mic for participants to share their reason for caring about the issue can solicit some very powerful stories.
  • If you invite a drum group, plan to give the singers a gift or a donation to the drum.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

To include cultural lifeways, we… invite the drum group to sing one honor song for all of our tribal members who have suffered or died from a tobacco-related disease, and another honor song and handshake line for all the participants who have successfully quit using tobacco.

group riding in truck with banner, group walking with banner, group talk

Education > Parade Floats:

Parade Floats

Parades are fun for participants of all ages and a great way to reach a large audience with a simple educational message.

Coalition Framework: Education

Planning

  1. Choose a theme for your float and decide what message and visuals you will use.
  2. Purchase and tag give-away items with your message. 
  3. Ask volunteers to sign up – you’ll need decorators (2-5), walkers/riders (10-20), a driver, and possibly characters to dress up.
  4. Write up a description of your float explaining the mission, theme, sponsors, and some relevant educational statistics for the parade announcer to reach.
  5. Register your parade float with the organizer and submit your written description.
  6. Day before – decorate your float and contact volunteers to remind them of the meeting time and location.
  7. Day of – assign volunteer roles (Who will walk and hand out items? Who will ride and assist walkers? Who will wear costumes?).

Materials needed


What if?

You don’t have enough volunteers…

  • Offer an incentive, like t-shirts or a gift card to a local store.
  • Invite youth groups.
  • Invite your family and friends and ask stakeholders to do the same.

Hints

  • Make sure your message is short and easy to understand. You will only have the bystander’s attention for about 10 seconds.
  • Tag give-away items with small slips of paper that contain your message on it
  • No matter how many give-a-ways you prepare, you’ll probably run out without a little guidance for walkers. Preparing bags with a specific number of items ahead of time can help. Tell volunteers that they each get X number of give-away bags that has to last them the whole parade.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

The Canli Coalition’s members are never disappointed when they volunteer for a parade. It’s always a good time and one of the Coalition’s favorite activities.

people participating in a parade

Give-Aways > Local, State or National Resources:

Local, State or National Resources

There is an overwhelming amount of educational resources available online, but unless a person is interested in your specific topic, they will miss important information. Have you ever wondered who fills the brochure holders at your local clinic? Take it upon yourself to do this and find the best local, state or national resources. Then get them in the hands of your community members.

Coalition Framework: Education

Planning

  1. Get connected to the resources.
    1. Subscribe to relevant newsletters and blogs.
    2. Sign up for email notifications.
    3. Follow social media pages that share educational materials.
    4. Reach out to your state department of health, or your regional tribal epicenter to see what is offered for free.
  2. Before you share the resource, make sure it is from a reliable source.
  3. Share the resource – this could mean printing and distributing an article or brochure. ordering and displaying free materials, or sharing a post on social media to your followers.
  4. Monitor supplies so you can restock when items have all been taken.

Resources


Hints

  • If you don’t find exactly what you’re looking for, make your own! Do your research to gather all the information and summarize it into a handout. Make sure you cite your sources.
  • Keep in mind—less is more when it comes to words and it’s good practice to write at a 3rd grade reading level, so keep it simple!

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

The Čaŋlí Coalition makes a quarterly handout to partners that serve a large population in our area.

We use local/state/regional resources on relevant and timely topics and adapt them to fit our culture and community. Our partners then help us get them distributed. Head Start helps us reach families with young children by putting them in every student’s backpack. WIC gives them out during client visits to reach low-income women.

Our handouts are also given out at our Tribal Food Distribution Program and the state Department of Social Services to reach populations with the greatest health disparities. Several examples are available in the Toolkit Library.

We also partner with our state department of health to put together SD QuitLine “data briefs” specific to our Tribe that our local healthcare providers and leaders appreciate.

local, state, and national campaign materials

Give-Aways > Wearables & Shareables:

Wearables & Shareables

In the Lakota culture, there are cultural protocols surrounding give-aways. Plus, everyone likes free stuff! If you can get people to wear or share your branded “stuff” they can be walking advertisers. Consider giving away reusable items, like t-shirts, hats, baby bibs, cups, koozies, quit kits, balls, pencils, or even sunglasses. Or, if you’re trying to spread a universal message, like “no smoking area”, you might consider giving out signs.

Coalition Framework: Education

Planning

  1. Identify and order an item, product, or sign to give-away.
  2. Determine if anyone is eligible or if they need to make a commitment or take a pledge to be eligible.
  3. Market and distribute!

Resources

Talk to a local printer about options or find a website with customizable give-a-ways, like 4imprint.com or vistaprint.com.


Hints

  • Give-away items might get more use if you use a color scheme consistent with local schools or the tribe.
  • Events like parades, Walk and Talks or contests are a prime time to give away items. 
  • Give-aways can be attached to a pledge or commitment, like giving a no smoking sign for pledging to make a smoke-free home rule, or a Quit Kit for people trying to quit smoking.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

We like to use items and messages relevant to the recipient and community. One example is our Quit Kit items that fill a water bottle with a power fist and the message “I can do this!” Explore our Quit Kits.

Another is a children’s book we made to inspire local youth to talk to their relatives about quitting or their exposure to secondhand smoke. Listen to a book read by a Coalition member using Lakota words.

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we…incorporate Lakota culture into the messaging, imagery, and even the items we give out. For example, we provide our community with free Cansasa, a sacred plant, so they can follow the cultural protocol when asking for a prayer or giving it as an honor.

giveaways including water bottles, cansasa container, t-shirts, baby bibs

Policy > Identify, Listen & Discuss:

Identify, Listen & Discuss

Engaging stakeholders, such as elected tribal or city council members, superintendents, or business owners in one-on-one conversations can help move policies. The purpose of these conversations is to better understand what they believe and why they believe it so you can address their specific concerns.

Coalition Framework: Policy

  1. Identify stakeholders who have the power to make change or adopt a policy. Refer to power vs. interest grid.
  2. Ask for 1 or 2 volunteers to talk to each identified stakeholder.
  3. Coach volunteers to start by asking questions and then just listen. Questions may include…
    1. Are you familiar with the proposed policy, and what is your understanding?
    2. Do you believe that [insert problem policy addresses] is a problem?
    3. What’s your opinion on the proposed policy to address problem?
    4. What would need to change for you to support the proposed policy?
  4. Prepare talking points and share with volunteers. See Canli Coalition Example below.
    1. Stick to the facts; facts are friendly!
    2. Address myths about your topic.
  5. Customize your message to fit the stakeholders interests. Encourage volunteers to consider what is important to the stakeholder they will be talking to (examples: kids, revenue, health, sovereignty, culture, contsituent’s opinions, or education).
  6. Briefly discuss any concerns or requests brought up by the stakeholder.
  7. Thank the stakeholder for their time.

Follow-up

  • Can you count on the stakeholders support? If not, do you need to wait before trying again or is there something that can be done right away?
  • Do you have enough support from stakeholders to present your policy? If so, proceed to the “Before Presentation” section. If not, go back to the “Policy Advocacy” section.

What if?

The conversation doesn’t go well…

  • Be inquisitive about their opinion. The stakeholder may realize that they don’t have a strong case for disagreeing once they try to explain their opinion.
  • Just listen and try to understand where they are coming from. Showing respect for their opinion may help with future conversations.
  • Affirm their opinion. Example: “I understand that it’s hard for you to support a smoke-free policy as a long time smoker.” or “I appreciate your concern for your constituents who don’t want smoking rules. Trying to please smokers and non-smokers must be difficult.”

Volunteers are unable or unwilling to do one-on-one conversations with stakeholders…

  • That’s ok, help them draft an email or letter to share with the stakeholder. It’s good to have a variety of outreach styles.

Hints

  • In tight-knit tribal communities, try to identify someone that supports your cause and is also close to a stakeholder (ex. a young niece or nephew, an elder aunt or uncle, or an old classmate).

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

Check out several of our talking point pages we used to engage stakeholders on policies related to:

Share Community Support

Stakeholders and the general public need to know that community members support the proposed policy. This is important to stakeholders because they are motivated to keep community members happy and it’s important to the public because they are more likely to be supportive if they know others are too.

Coalition Framework: Policy

Planning

  1. Ask supporters to call or text stakeholders and explain why they support the policy. If this effort is coordinated on one day, it can demonstrate a “show of force” to decision makers.
  2. Collect letters of support.
    1. Draft a fill in the blank letter or email for policy supporters to complete.
    2. Print several copies of the letter.
    3. Ask Coalition volunteers to have their supportive family and friends to complete a letter or submit an email.
    4. Put all the statements of support together with a cover letter summarizing the people who expressed their support and a few key quotes from letters. Give the summary or all of the letters to stakeholders.
  3. Collect signatures from supporters.
    1. Formal – File a petition.
    2. Informal – Create a large banner for supporters to sign or an online or printed form for supporters to fill in. Think about other info that might be helpful, like what district or city they are in, age, etc.
    3. Share results as a summary for stakeholders or publicize the total number of signatures collected on social media or in the newspaper.

What if?

You don’t have much community support yet…

  • Assess if you need to spend more time educating your community on the topic of interest (link to education section) or raising community awareness on the policy (link to community awareness section)
  • Sometimes quantity of supporters is less important than quality of supporters. Can you find some very influential supporters in a position of power to speak in support of your policy?

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

letter

Canli Coalition members displayed banners of local signatures during the Tribal Council meeting when the CRST Smoke-Free Air Ordinance 77 was passed. After the ordinance was passed by Tribal Council, the next step was a 30 day public comment period before it could be enacted.

Canli Coalition members with banners of local signatures

Policy > Policy Writing 101:

Policy Writing 101

This is perhaps one of the most important things you’ll do, but can also be the most challenging without proper support. Find the right people and resources to help you write the policy.

Coalition Framework: Policy

Planning

  1. Research types of laws/resolutions/ordinances to make sure your idea is legally enforceable.
  2. Research sample policies or recommendations from reliable sources, such as HUD’s Smoke-Free Policy Checklist or similar policies with different jurisdictions, like your state’s smoke-free air policy.
  3. Consult your coalition members to make a wish list of what you want the policy to include.
    1. Categorize your wishlist into “non-negotiable” and “negotiable” items. Be prepared to pull your policy from consideration if decision-makers try to cut one of your “non-negotiable” items.
    2. Explore Canli Coalition’s wishlist for a tobacco sales policy.
  4. Before your presentation, consult an expert to help draft a policy using your wishlist as a guide.
  5. After your presentation, make revisions as necessary (expect this to happen many times).

Resources

What if?

You can’t find an expert to help…


Hints

  • Identify a model policy that is close to what you’re going for and customize it to fit your wishlist.
  • Use definitions for anything that has potential to leave a “loop-hole,” but be cautious with word choices. Ask traditional leaders to review any Native language used. Watch a video that explains “The Problem of ‘Tobacco-Free.’”

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

Here are several model policies related to tobacco from the Canli Coalition:

Read about how the Public Health Law Center helped the Canli Coalition draft and revise Ordinance 77.

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… dedicated Ordinance 77 to “all of the CRST members who have died or who suffer from commercial tobacco related illnesses.”

Policy > Before Presentation:

Before Presentation

Taking a few preparation steps before you present your policy to decision makers can improve your chances of success and save you time in the long run.

Coalition Framework: Policy

Planning

  1. Get to know decision-makers. Who are they? Have they supported similar policies in the past? What/who are they influenced by?
  2. Get to know the meeting organizers. Find out who schedules the meetings and how to get on the agenda.
  3. Gauge decision-maker support.
    1. Have conversations with stakeholders.
    2. Survey decision makers.
  4. Share the concept of your policy informally to get the community talking about it. Use social media to trigger conversations.  
  5. Organize talking points or presentation slides and identify one or two people to present.
    1. Don’t talk about what you think is important, talk about what they think is important based on 1:1 conversations.
    2. Use local photos of your community engagement events, like Walk & Talks and Parades, and survey results in your presentation slides.
  6. Demonstrate community support.
    1. Rally your coalition members to attend the meeting so decision-makers can see the community buy-in. Prepare supporters in case they are invited to speak.
  7. Find out what to expect when you present your policy.
    1. Attend a meeting just to observe local customs or ask a trusted local supporter.
      1. How can you be respectful if there is a prayer or traditional practice, such as smudging at the meeting?
      2. How should you address tribal leaders (ex. Madam Chair, Representative, Honorable)?
  8. Now, you’re ready for the next step—“During and After Presentation”.

What if?

You’re not able to get on the meeting agenda to present…


Hints

Touch base with decision makers. If they feel surprised or unprepared, they’ll be less likely to act on the policy. This is also a good chance to remind them of their previous commitments or past support.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

smoke-free buisiness benefits infographic

For over a year, the Canli Coalition was unable to even get on the CRST Health Committee agenda to present our indoor smoke-free air policy. We worked hard during this time to make our education and community engagement efforts visible.

The 7 days leading up to Ordinance 77 being presented in CRST Tribal Council, the Canli Coalition featured 7 daily infographics on the benefits of smoke-free businesses. It felt like the  whole rez was involved in the discussion by day 7!

Policy > During & After Presentation:

During & After Presentation

After all you’ve done to raise awareness within your community and advocate for your policy with decision-makers, presenting your policy is the climactic moment. Your policy may or may not pass, but regardless of the outcome your community needs you to remain steadfast and keep moving forward.

Coalition Framework: Policy

Planning

  1. Send out a reminder to your volunteers coming to show support the morning of the meeting.
  2. Plan to arrive early so you can get comfortable with the setting, set up any equipment you need, and try to have a brief visit with decision-makers as they arrive.
  3. When you are called on to present…
    1. Express your gratitude for the opportunity to present.
    2. Take time to briefly acknowledge your supporters in the room.
    3. Be respectful and be calm.
    4. Answer questions openly and don’t be afraid to say, “let me get back to you on that” if you don’t know the answer.
  4. If your policy passes…
    1. CELEBRATE! Take time to relish in the joy of all your hard work paying off.
    2. Get a copy of the signed policy. Sometimes this takes persistence.
    3. Move on the next step of implementing your policy (link to implement and defend section).

Follow-up

  • Discuss with your volunteers what went well and what didn’t go well. Then plan how you will revise your approach next time you present your policy.

What if?

The policy doesn’t pass…

  • Be respectful of their decision, but let decision-makers know you’ll be back and ask for actionable things you can do to improve the chances of earning their vote next time.
  • Meet with your volunteers and do what you can to boost morale.

Hints

  • Take photos to document the process.
  • Give items to decision makers to showcase your work and commitment to the policy (ex. signs, newspaper clippings, or youth artwork).
  • Follow up with decision makers who commented or gave you a vote. If you need to clarify misinformation try to speak with them one-on-one. If you just want to say thank you, have your volunteers sign a card to mail.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

Listen to a recap of the meeting when the Canli Coalition convinced the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribal Council to pass their Smoke-Free Air Ordinance 77.

The Canli Coalition youth volunteers handed out memorial candles to decision makers “in memory of their loved one who died or suffer from tobacco-related illnesses.”

group listening to presentation, group of cards, youth volunteer with candles
feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… followed local protocols at tribal council meetings by standing during the morning prayer and shaking hands with tribal council members after presenting.

Policy > Celebrate Publicly:

Celebrate Publicly

After your policy passes, it’s time to celebrate! Let your entire community in on the celebration so everyone is aware of the changes to come. Doing it in a celebratory way, keeps the narrative positive and can help overshadow any negativity or backlash.

Coalition Framework: Policy

Planning

  1. Pitch your story to the press (newspaper, radio, tv).
    1. Be prepared with a written press release and press talking points for volunteers. 
    2. Identify supporters willing to be interviewed or get quotes from volunteers of all ages who attended the meeting, from supportive decision-makers, and from community members or businesses who will be impacted by the policy.
    3. Gauge your outreach (local, statewide or national) based on the scale of the policy. Explore a list of South Dakota, North Dakota, and Native American press contacts.
    4. Monitor the internet for media outlets that pick up your story – don’t expect them to let you know.
  2. Notify specific groups impacted by the policy.
    1. Draft a memo for the tribe that clearly explains the policy. Send the memo to businesses, tribal, city, and county law enforcement, housing tenants, and provide contact information for anyone who has questions.
  3. Notify the general public.
    1. Newspaper article
    2. Social media
    3. Radio

Resources


What if?

No media outlets pick up your story…

  • Interview your supporters and make your own video to share online! Go to our digital media page for tips.

You get negative press about your policy…

  • Don’t engage with the cynics. Do counter it with as much positive press as possible.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

group celebrating, social media celebration post

The Canli Coalition uses a multimedia approach to announce and celebrate new policies. After all the parks on the reservation went smoke-free we submitted an article to local newspapers titled, “What do all parks on Cheyenne River have in common? They are smoke-free!”

Another press release announcing CRST’s Smoke Free Air Policy was submitted on a larger scale to South Dakota, North Dakota and Native newspapers, radio stations and tv stations. To prepare for a interview on KELOLAND TV, we used these press talking points.

We also make celebratory posts on social media whenever a new policy is passed and share quotes from community members about why they appreciate the policy.

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… put children and elders front and center in our celebration since they are sacred to the Lakota and ultimately, who we were trying to protect the most with Ordinance 77.

Policy > Regular Reminders:

Regular Reminders

Expect it to take several years of regular reminders before the community gets used to the policy. Even after you see a shift in social norms, remain steadfast in enforcing the policy.

Coalition Framework: Policy

Planning

  1. Get signs to distribute.
    1. Your state department of health may offer free signs you can order and distribute.
    2. Customized signs to fit your local culture and policy can also be very effective.
    3. Use your coalition members to watch for businesses or locations that are in need of a sign.
    4. Don’t be afraid to follow-up if a business doesn’t post the sign you gave them.
  2. Support event organizers to enforce the policy.
    1. Provide enforcement notes and educational facts to the announcer.
    2. Sponsor an ad in the event program with a friendly policy reminder.
  3. Mail a letter with policy reminders on a recurring basis.
  4. Empower your supporters to give friendly verbal reminders if they see policy violations.
  5. Get friendly with law enforcement. Touch base periodically to find out how policy enforcement is going from their perspective. Let police officers know you appreciate their support. For more tips on policy compliance go to the section on monitoring compliance and threats.

Hints

Businesses aren’t posting the signs you provided…

  • Don’t be afraid to give them a friendly reminder. 
  • Offer assistance to post the sign for them. Youth volunteers tend to get the best response with this approach.

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

The Canli Coalition drafted a letter to notify all businesses of Ordinance 77 after it took effect. The Tribal Chairman and Secretary signed the letter and the Canli Coalition mailed the letter to business owners and managers. The Canli Coalition got a list of businesses from their partner at the Tribal Revenue Office and a list of Tribal Programs from the mail distribution office. This process is used every year on the anniversary of the Ordinance passing to remind businesses of the law.

We faced challenges enforcing our smoke-free policy at events like powwows and rodeos. Event organizers and announcers were happy to help with a little support (see planning section above).

feather illustration

To include cultural lifeways, we… organized a Lakota Smoke-Free sign contest and got some beautiful artwork to customize our signs and give them a local feel.

images of signs and usage

Policy > Monitor Compliance & Threats:

Monitor Compliance & Threats

If you don’t monitor compliance and threats, who will? Change is hard. When people feel like no one is watching, it’s easy to disregard a policy. It’s equally important to monitor people or groups organizing a plan to resist or threaten policy change. If it took you a year to get your policy passed, expect threats to your policy for at least a year.

Coalition Framework: Policy

Planning

  1. Monitor policy compliance. See section on “collecting and sharing local data” for tips.
    1. Discuss with your coalition members what perfect compliance looks like.
    2. Design a simple assessment tool with your compliance criteria.
    3. Ask volunteers to choose from a list of locations to assess.
    4. Compile your results to learn how good or bad policy compliance is.
    5. Publicly congratulate and thank those who are doing well. See “share results in a meaningful way” section for tips.
    6. If you discover policy violations, first respectfully notify the violator. If they continue to go against the policy, notify whoever has authority to enforce it.
  2. Monitor policy threats.
    1. Figure out who is organizing opposition and why. Prepare rebuttal statements to their specific arguments. Use data as much as possible.
    2. Find out what the other side needs to do to overturn the policy.
    3. Ask community members and decision-makers who supported your policy to notify you if they hear of any organized attempts to repeal the policy.
    4. Have a presence at meetings where your policy is being threatened. Rally your supporters, just like you did when you presented the policy. Ask for the opportunity to defend the policy with your rebuttal statements. Hold back emotions and stick to the facts.

Follow-up

  • Did you learn anything new about the opposers position? What information do you need to counter their position?
  • What can you do better in the future to defend the policy?

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

Three years after Ordinance 77 passed, we worked with youth volunteers to assess business compliance. Volunteers looked for people smoking or cigarette butts within 50 of building entrances, and smoke-free air signs at each entrance.

compliance chart, list of business that passed

The Canli Coalition successfully defended Ordinance 77 four times from 2015-2018. Policy threats came in the form of petitions to repeal, requests for exceptions, and complaints that the policy was hurting business revenue and a violation of smoker’s rights. Coalition members learned about the petition through the rumor mill. We were notified of less formal complaints to tribal council by council members who helped pass the policy.

Canli Coalition Video

For each threat, we used social media and a calling tree to rally our supporters and show up in numbers at the meeting. One time, our youth volunteers weren’t able to get out of school to attend the meeting, so they created a video we shared with decision makers and on social media.

These kids should be an inspiration to all – fighting to remove second and third hand smoke from ALL indoor public places. #ClassOf2019 #SmokeFreeAir #Courageous

Posted by The Canli Coalition of CRST on Thursday, October 6, 2016

Policy > Support Ongoing Change:

Support Ongoing Change

Addressing system level changes that are impacted by your policy can maximize its success and improve satisfaction. For example, what healthcare changes are needed when a wide-spread smokefree air policy is passed? Possibly a more robust smoking cessation program or increased availability of smoking cessation medications. What changes are needed to support tobacco retailers when a tobacco sales policy is passed? Possibly training for clerks and signs to inform customers of the changes.

Coalition Framework: Policy

Planning

  1. When a new policy is passed, discuss with your coalition which systems will be impacted.
  2. Meet with key stakeholders from the systems identified to find out what changes are needed for the policy to be successful.
  3. Make a plan and deliver.

Resources

Čaŋlí Coalition Example

billboard, we card sign, kids with vapes

In late 2019, the federal government increased the age to purchase tobacco to 21 with little warning to young adults or tobacco retailers. The Canli Coalition responded by amping up smoking cessation promotion for young adults, and supplied tobacco retailers on the reservation with an informative letter, updated We Card signs and a training video for clerks.

When our local schools updated their tobacco policies, the Canli Coalition offered an alternative to suspension option for students with tobacco violations. Our “Think Again” packet gives students the opportunity to learn about addiction and quitting support available to minors.