A Participatory Assessment of Environmental Health Concerns in an Ojibwa Community


Dolores Severtson K6/380 CSC, School of Nursing, 600 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53792-2455. E-mail: djsevert@students.wisc.edu


This research employed a participatory approach to explore environmental health (EH) concerns among Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Ojibwa Indians in Sawyer County, Wisconsin. The project was grounded in a broad ecological conceptualization of EH and in principles of health promotion and community participation. Community participation was accomplished through a steering committee that consisted of the primary author and LCO College faculty and community members. The selected assessment methodology was a self-administered survey mailed to LCO members in Sawyer County. Concern for environmental issues was high in this tribal community, especially for future generations. Concern was higher among older members and tribal members living on rather than off the reservation. Local environmental issues of concern were motorized water vehicles, effects from global warming, aging septic systems on waterways, unsafe driving, and contaminated lakes/streams. The LCO community can use survey results to inform further data needs and program development.