BIXBY, Okla.- The Muscogee (Creek) Nation (MCN) Center for Victim Services held their first Healthy Relationship 101 Honkv storytelling event on Oct. 20 at the Euchee Butterfly Farm. Students 8th-12th grade toured the butterfly farm, ate smores, listened to healthy relationship advice, as well as spooky stories.
MCN Center of Victim Services Youth Prevention Specialist Jamie Rolland (Yuchi/Mvskoke) and MCN Center of Victim Services Outreach Coordinator MaCaylin Autaubo (Witchita) both hosted the Health relationship 101 Honkv storytelling event.
During this event organizers brought out elders to tell stories about Mvskoke culture and honkv stories. This event had a nacho bar and hot dogs for students to eat while listening to speakers.
The event initially had 30 students registered, however Rolland knew that number would rise. Regardless, the event did not turn anyone away. Rolland and her team were prepared to meet the needs of extra students.
The Euchee Butterfly farm was chosen as the event’s location because organizers view it as a peaceful setting. The farm’s employees have been helpful in partnering with their department. “They support our mission for educating the youth,” Rolland said.
The director of the Euchee Butterfly Farm, Jane Breckinridge (Mvskoke) has been instrumental in helping Rolland’s department. She gave out butterfly kits to students, enabling them to take care of the insects themselves.
Autaubo mentioned that October marks domestic violence awareness month. Throughout the month Rolland reached out to students to provide education on what a healthy relationship looks like, relationship red flags, technology abuse and gas lightning.
When Autaubo researched relationship abuse statistics for the event, she discovered that it is an issue that affects both young men and women. Autaubo and her team want to provide relationship education to not only students, but also the parents as well.
“1.5 million high school students nationwide that experience physical abuse are from a dating partner. Within that, one in 11 of females and one in 15 male high school students experience having physical dating violence. Tag along one in nine females and one in 36 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence,” Autaubo said.
While these numbers are high, Rolland and Autaubo want to reduce them. By providing this information for students at a young age, the hope is that it would decrease the likelihood of relationship abuse in future relationships.
A phrase Autaubo has seen around social media that describes abuse within a relationship is a toxic relationship. Her department’s work helps define what healthy relationship norms should be, with the hope that toxic behaviors can be identified and eliminated.
Rolland and Autaubo hope that by coming to this event, students would leave with better perspectives of what a healthy relationship should look like, as well as set healthier relationship habits.
“This is our first year where we really hit the mark with our youth,” Autaubo said. The department is wanting to expand this event to other areas of the Mvskoke reservation, especially areas down south.
When setting up events like these, both Rolland and Autaubo feel joy seeing students having a fun time, and providing helpful life tips. For Rolland, the event brought a lot of anxiety and excitement, however she remarked that it was worth it in the end.
“You see the project from start to finish and so just that feeling you’ve had after that event with so many youth that you were able to connect with and give that information to,” Autaubo said.
The department hosted another event on Oct. 24. The event had a panel discussion about domestic violence within the reservation. Different panelists spoke to community members on what the process is like from when they receive a domestic violence case.
For more information on MCN Youth Services events, contact Autaubo at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call her at 918-732-7938.