Sam Bradshaw grew up in the Warner community in Oklahoma and is a proud Cherokee Nation citizen. After graduating high school in 1977, Sam traveled the U.S. as a construction worker before joining the United States Marine Corps in 1980. After an honorable discharge, Sam went to school for Prevention Science Associate’s at the University of Nevada in El Reno, then went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Northeastern State University, graduating Summa Cum Laude and as a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.
For nearly 20 years, Sam has served his tribal communities through his work at Cherokee Nation, first in Housing as a Family Advocate and the last 14 of those years at Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health as the Prevention Programs Manager. This position includes overseeing several grants covering tribal opioid response, suicide prevention, and state-tribal partnerships in collecting data in Native communities.
With his extensive background in community organization, Sam is continuously identifying opportunities to utilize the SPF model by creating and designing several communities’ strategic action plans that work for Indian Country. His work in mental health promotion and suicide prevention led him to train community members across the 14-county jurisdiction of Cherokee Nation in coalition building, mental health first aid, crisis intervention, NARCAN distribution and use, and other community and culturally centered prevention methods. Currently, there are 11 active coalitions that Sam assists in strengthening and sustaining.
Bradshaw’s passion is working within the traditional Cherokee communities, researching and creating programs designed to provide customized solutions that will create measurable change for communities, organizations, families and individuals. In addition, Sam continues to learn the latest research in theory, data driven prevention and methods to bridge the gap between research and communities designed to create population level change.
Sam has received several awards for his work in tribal communities, including the Substance Abuse Prevention Professional of the Year from the Oklahoma Drug & Alcohol Professional Counselor Association (ODAPCA), and has spoken at the national level on community organizing and substance abuse prevention within native communities.
He lives and works in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, the Cherokee Nation Capitol. He is a Marine Corps Veteran, former professional bull rider, and founder of the Osiyo Men’s Shelter in Tahlequah. Sam enjoys good food, walking his dog Sinatra and spending time learning Cherokee culture and history.