On December 21st, 2015 Pawnee Brown lost his home to a violent wind storm, when a 135 foot Fir Tree split his house into. He is asking for help through donations to help with out with expenses during the rebuild as he is living with his dog Khassie in a hotel room in Longview WA. Pawnee was also the recipient of a Liver Transplant on January 25, 2015 at the University of Washington Medical Center after 2 years of fighting Liver Cancer (HCC).
Pawnee Brown was born in Catoosa Oklahoma and has worked in HIV and the Harm Reduction field since 1988, starting in HIV in a buddy program and providing outreach services to street involved and homeless people. In 1991 while attending school in Olympia Washington he volunteered providing HIV testing and counseling for over 20 years. He also volunteered and trained staff and hundreds of volunteers in syringe exchange and phlebotomy skills at a Thurston County Public Health Department in Olympia Washington for many years. Working out of a Mobile Heath Van with the ‘Thurston County Public Health and Social Services in multiple sites in and around Olympia Washington…He is well known considered as one of the Elders in the Harm Reduction Movement in the U.S. working to provide outreach and services to the drug using community. Always utilizing his cultural and traditional teachings to captivate his audience whether at a training, conference or on the street providing services to those at greatest risk. Pawnee is always telling traditional stories to teens, teaching songs from our ancestors or providing a flute or drum making class at reservations in the Pacific Northwest. Passing on to others what was taught to him at a young age. He continues and a member of the recovery community for over a quarter of a century and dedicates his life and service to the program who gave his life back, Narcotics Anonymous.
He provides HCV testing today as a volunteer when needed still doing underground syringe distribution at reservations with ‘Native People’ that is illegal because of federal laws that prohibit syringe distribution. He is working with Hep C organizations and support groups around the country to help with culturally appropriate HCV support groups for native people. He has participated with the HIV Community serving on several different Ryan White Consortia’s and the Washington State HIV Statewide Prevention Planning from its conception in 1994 through 2002. Pawnee also helped develop one of the most effective mobile rural outreach programs to IDU’s while working in public health.
Before coming to the Tribal BEAR Project at South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency he was a Public Health Educator II at Clark County Public Health Department where he was working part time coordinating a full time HIV and Harm Reduction Program. The Harm Reduction Center a home/business located in a high intensity drug traffic area is a model program located in Vancouver WA which continues to provide a multitude of services for active users or those at greatest risk for HIV and Hep C. Pawnee won several state and national awards on his ability to train and utilize volunteers from the community in outreach efforts to the communities he served. Along with his numerous awards and recognition he was presented the Washington State HIV Educator of the year award an unprecedented 3 times. He has been very successful in taking HIV testing sites and converted them into comprehensive Harm Reduction Centers using motivational interviewing while providing a multitude of support referral services for those at greatest risk of HIV and HCV. He has also been trained as a prevention specialist through WA Division of Behavior Health and Recovery (DBHR) and worked with rural counties through contract using the community organizing model for DBHR in Washington State around Youth Substance Abuse, utilizing the Strengthening Family curriculum as a best practice model out of Washington State University.
Pawnee has been a Keynote speaker at several Native American and national conferences. As a result of his presentation and education to tribal members, tribal administrators, tribal council members, public health, social services, community members and his policy work, proved that harm reduction models work on rural reservations to reduce high HCV infection rates along with OD deaths associated with injecting Rx drugs by tribal members.