Canku Ota Logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota Logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


March 22, 2003 - Issue 83


pictograph divider


Blackfeet Man Honored with First Health Award

by Shawn White Wolf Helena Independent Record
credits: photo - Gordon Belcourt, Executive Director, Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council and Area Indian Health Board - courtesy of the University of California, School of Public Health

Gordon Belcourt, Executive Director, Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council and Area Indian Health BoardGordon Belcourt became nationally recognized as an expert in the field of American Indian alcoholism in the 1970s.

The first American Indian to receive a national award earned it by establishing 235 alcohol prevention programs in 36 states and advocating for American Indian health throughout the country.

"(Gordon Belcourt) is one of our finest graduates that has done some magnificent work in consulting and in the areas of public health," said Duhl Leonard, one of Belcourt’s professors at the University of California.

The School of Public Health at the University of California in Berkeley will honor Belcourt March 14 at the 7th Annual Public Heroes event. This school will be honoring three individuals – Belcourt, Ela Bhatt, and Dr. Lester Breslow – and the Homeless Prenatal Program.

Belcourt was born and raised in Montana on the Blackfeet reservation. He has a lifetime appointment as an Appellate Justice of the Blackfeet Nation and is active in various organizations advocating for public health, higher education, civil liberties and the environment.

The Public Health Heroes honor was established seven years ago to broaden people’s awareness and understanding of the public health field. The honor recognizes individuals and organizations for their significant contributions and commitment to promoting and protecting public health.

Belcourt has established 235 alcohol and substance abuse prevention programs in 36 states and continues to advocate on behalf of 556 federally recognized tribes as a board member on the National Indian Health Board.

Belcourt said that throughout his career, he focused on improving service to American Indian people, access to health-care resources and the restructuring of the Indian Health Service.

In the 1970s, Belcourt became nationally recognized as an expert in the field of American Indian alcoholism. He was the national field director for the American Indian Commission on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.

In this position, he visited every American Indian reservation and community to assist in developing alcoholism and substance abuse prevention programs.

Belcourt said he has brought a perspective rooted in a culture and tradition in which all things are interrelated. While he said he has dedicated his life to achieving a positive difference in the health of communities and families, his definition of public health extends beyond human health promotion and disease prevention to include the health of all living things and the environment.

Today, Belcourt serves the American Indians in Montana and Wyoming as the executive director of both the MT-WY Tribal Leaders Council and Area Indian Health Board. In his positions, he assists in coordinating the flow of information throughout tribal health departments, tribal councils and federal and state agencies. He is knowledgeable in both Montana and Wyoming issues pertaining to public health for 100,000 tribal members, 10 tribal governments and eight large land-based reservations.

Bhatt will be honored for creating in 1972 the Self-Employed Women’s Association in India. Dr. Breslow will be honored for his work in health determinants and promoting lifestyle habits.

Homeless Prenatal Program, founded in 1989 by SPH graduate Martha Ryan, will be honored for its work in providing a peer-delivered system of community outreach and education for prenatal care for homeless women.

Helena, MT Map
Maps by Travel

pictograph divider

Home PageFront PageArchivesOur AwardsAbout Us

Kid's PageColoring BookCool LinksGuest BookEmail Us


pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.

Canku Ota Logo   Canku Ota Logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.

Site Meter
Thank You

Valid HTML 4.01!