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July 26th

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The Details

The Details

Culture should be at the forefront of our thinking when we discuss suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention.


We all come from diverse backgrounds with significant differences that are fundamental to consider in our interactions in providing support, resources, and services.


During the summit, we will seek to understand suicide and suicide attempts within the context of the person's culture, subculture, generational differences, social position, language, religion/spirituality, cultural characteristics, gender identity, values, and beliefs that can create or function both as risk factors in seeking support for traumatic and emotional disturbances as well as function as protective factors that provide support and encourage help-seeking behaviors and attitude.


JULY 26, 2023


PSU Native American Student & Community Center

710 SW Jackson St, Portland, OR, 97201

Our Sponsors

We are proud to affiliate with a group of excellent sponsors from a variety of influential companies and organizations. We're always looking to build new partnerships, so get in touch if you'd like to learn more!

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Many of us who attend or present at suicide prevention events have experienced the loss of a loved one to suicide, struggle with our own thoughts about suicide or support someone else who does.  While learning and connecting together can in itself be tremendously healing,  the focused discussions on suicide can prompt anxiety, difficult memories or our own thoughts of self-harm.

During the live event we will detail support options available for individuals to utilize. All day long there will be a variety of affinity spaces, which is one place you can turn to for support. 

Self-care is the most valuable thing one can offer themselves while processing grief, heavy topics, and memories that could be triggering. Reach out to the event moderators if something is to arise and you need help navigating support.

The Speakers

Join us for an exciting lineup of powerful speakers and breakout discussion sessions.

Michelle "Yemaya" Benton


Pronouns: she/her/goddess

Opening Ceremony Grounding

Michelle “Yemaya” Benton (MY) is originally from Northern California, and has been residing in Portland, OR for the last 17 years. Through her personal spiritual and soul searching journey, Yemaya has learned to interact with energy, assessing the need not only within herself, but also the people around her.


In 2019, Yemaya’s Inclinations, A Spiritual Offerings Boutique was established. Yemaya’s Inclinations has continued to grow and encourage community healing in new ways; to our generation, but also traditional practices that are overlooked and not readily practiced.

As an AWO (student of the mystery) and aspiring herbalist, Yemaya uses the knowledge gained coupled with her inclinations (God given gifts) and incorporates it in the healing provided to community members. MY is studying Ifa, an African Traditional Religion (ATR), and with further study and mentorship will be an initiated Ifa Priestess July 2023.

In 2021, Yemaya took healing and connecting to the divine feminine to the next step and became a Yoni Steam Practitioner offering a deeper healing connection with the Divine feminine within.  

Michelle Yemaya is a co-founder and the Executive Directors for the Black Community of Portland, a local Grassroots non-profit Organization. She has been dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of the Black population in Portland with areas of focus being Anti-Displacement and Housing Justice, Black Economics, and Self-Healing. In addition, as the

As a hobby she enjoys photography and painting and being in the wilderness for grounding and its natural melody. You can find the Goddess near a fresh body of water or the beach.

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Opening Song

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Kimmie McNair, CMA

Paiute, Modoc, and an Enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes.

Waq’lis’i, my name is Kimmie Mcnair. I am Paiute, Modoc and an enrolled member of the Klamath tribes. My father is the late Marc Mcnair, and my mother is Felicia Mcnair. I currently reside in Klamath Falls Oregon.

I am a CMA/Phlebotomist for our tribal clinic and a blessed mother of five wonderful children, that range from five years of age to eight-teen years old. My oldest is currently serving in the United States Marine Corp and stationed at Camp Pendleton. Semper Fidelis!

I enjoy traveling and participating at pow wows all over the country. It is always a great feeling to experience the amazing singing and dancing at the pow wows I have had the opportunity to attend. I am always honored when called upon to sing for our Indian people. The singing allows me to honor my dad and the teachings he shared with me since I was a toddler.


Thank you for the honor of inviting me to this year’s event! I hope everyone has a great experience! Thank you!

Chantell H. Reed

Interim Deputy Director of the Multnomah County Department of Health

Chantell Reed oversees strategy and operations as the Interim Deputy Director for the Multnomah County Health Department. She also supports the department with her experience in emergency management and accreditation. Before joining Multnomah County, she held several key positions in health administration – including public health, behavioral health, maternal child health, senior care, and community-based programs.

Chantell is committed to bringing palpable change in quality and equitability in healthcare for all within our community. She has served on numerous committees and boards and spoken at events and conferences. She currently serves on the board of the Oregon Public Health Association.

She is a former board chair of the International School of Louisiana and a former board member of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute, and the Loyola Center for Counseling and Education. A fervent catalyst for change, she is the Captain of the Krewe of Harmonia. Chantell graduated from Northwood University in Cedar Hill, TX, earned a Master’s in Healthcare Management from the University of New Orleans, and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in Public Health from Tulane University.


Born and raised in New Orleans, Mardi Gras is her favorite holiday. She currently lives in the heart of Multnomah County with her two teenage sons Cam and Sam.

Welcoming Speaker

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Opening Keynote

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Felicia McNair

Klamath-Modoc, and an Enrolled member of the Klamath Tribes.

Waq'lis'i (Hello) I am Felicia McNair, a Klamath-Modoc tribal member from the Klamath Tribes. I live on our tribal homelands with my family.


Being a Tribal Elder I have worked with Tribal youth for many years Culturally and within our Community. During my work as a Prevention Coordinator with Klamath Tribal Health and Family Services, I have worked with Tribal Youth and Families.


The special title I carry is " Grandma". For me, this is the best protective factor that the youth know me as.

I am recognized as Grandma for more then just The Klamath Tribal youth. When they see me wearing one of my hats they say "Grandma is here"!  For the past several years I have been asked to be " Grandma" for the SOU Konaway Nika Tillicum Academy for Native Youth throughout Oregon region.


I have trained many in suicide prevention, including our youth. Also, I was an active participant of the Suicide Prevention Coalition in Klamath County.

WyKisha McKinney

Senior Project Manager of the Zero Suicides Institute

WyKisha McKinney is a highly sought speaker and advocates for suicide prevention.  WyKisha McKinney's fight against suicide began with the loss of her brother Johnny Madison, who died by suicide in 2004. 


Overwhelmed by grief after her brother's death, WyKisha slipped into significant depression, almost ending with her suicide attempt.  However, with the support of her family and the help of local counseling centers, she got the help she needed to cope with her loss and manage her depression.  She also found hope and recovery in serving others affected by suicide. 

Over the last fifteen years, WyKisha has obtained a wealth of knowledge and experience in crisis intervention and suicide prevention, which she is eager to share with others. She has been featured in several documentaries, television interviews, books, and other publications. Currently, WyKisha is the Senior Project Manager of the Zero Suicide Institute. 


Recently, WyKisha launched her first business, The TwenTea Company, a tea company that donates 20% of its profits to suicide prevention. 

Keynote Speaker

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Cultural Spark

To Be Announced


Nic Mcsangkay

Cultural worker in music, poetry, multimedia, and transformation. Filipinx, sick & disabled, queer & trans survivor.

When you struggle with the ending, think of me. I’m Nic Masangkay —a cultural worker in music, poetry, multimedia, and transformation.


Following years in a personal state of survival, I re-emerge in 2021 thriving. I am loved and ready to love. I know my power and where that can take us.


We are living in “unprecedented” times, and everyday I feel the people’s universal fear of the unknown.

Change is here: we have summoned it for so long. And now that it arrives, will we show up? Are you ready to let go of the way things were? How we got here? Post-survival, will you finally love like the world is ending? Like you are ready for what you asked for?


I promise I am with you when it all needs to end.


So let us begin:

Cultural Spark

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All events, both virtual and in-person, are scheduled in the Pacific Time Zone.

Main Event

*Schedule subject to change*


JULY 26, 2023

9:00 AM

Opening Grounding Ceremony:

9:20 AM

Land Acknowledgement

9:30 AM

Opening Ceremonial Song:                          

9:45 AM

Welcome Opening Speaker:

10:00 AM


Annette Marcus, Policy Director, OR Alliance to Prevent Suicide & Iden Campbell, Twelve6 Strategies Inc.

10:15 AM

Opening Keynote/Q&A:

11:00 AM

Cultural Spark Talk:

Nic Mcsangkay

11:05 AM

Life Celebration Honoring:

Ancestors: Sadé Heart of the Hawk Ali (Mi'kmaq), & Diana Cortez Yañez

11:30 AM

Breakout Discussions:

Choose 1 of 4 Topics to join in-person or virtually

12:05 PM


1:00 PM

Cultural Spark:

Virtual Speaker TBA

1:05 PM

Keynote Speaker/Q&A:

1:50 PM

Breakout Discussion:

Cultural Protective Factors

2:10 PM

Closing Grounding:


Breakout Sessions

Open discussions utilizing the Zoom Whiteboard feature. These rooms are solution focused and driven by community members.


Rooted in Community


Holding Space

Care that Centers Autonomy


Culture & Language As a Protective Factor

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