Karuk Councilman Honored For "Moving" In Indian Country (health)


Let’s Move! in Indian Country: Celebrating One Year of Progress

Tomorrow, June 1, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. EDT, the White House will host a panel discussion of leaders who have contributed to the progress of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! in Indian Country initiative and whose work can be expanded across Indian Country.  The discussion will be streamed online at www.WhiteHouse.gov/live.  As a key component of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, Let’s Move! in Indian Country focuses on four pillars that are essential to building a healthy future for American Indian and Alaska Native youth:
  • Creating a Healthy start on Life,
  • Creating Healthy Learning Communities,
  • Fostering Healthy, Comprehensive Food Systems Policies, and
  • Increasing Opportunities for Physical Activity

The featured panelists have demonstrated success in one or more of these pillars and are here to share their stories.  They will be joined by the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Senior Policy Advisor for Healthy Food Initiatives and Assistant White House Chef Sam Kass, Acting Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs Del Laverdure, and White House Senior Policy Advisor for Native American Affairs Jodi Gillette. Following the discussion, two of our panelists, professional basketball players Ben Strong and Tahnee Robinson, will lead a group of Native American youth through a basketball clinic.  The full agenda will include the following panelists:

 Alvina Begay (Navajo) – Distance Runner and Olympic Hopeful
After a successful collegiate running career Alvina has finished in the top 10 in six U.S. road Championships, represented the U.S. internationally and finished 10th in the ING New York City Marathon. Alvina recently qualified for the Olympic Trials in the 10,000 meters.

Jack Burns – Nike N7
Jack is a member of the N7 Fund Board of Directors.  Along with Sam McCracken, the General Manager of N7, he was one of many who helped develop the N7 program to bring sport and all of its benefits to Native American and Aboriginal communities in the U.S. and Canada.

Carl Butterfield (Red Cliff) – AmeriCorps Vista Garden Operations
Carl is an AmeriCorps VISTA leader for the Mino Bi Ma De Se Win (Return to the Good Life) Farm. The garden project works to ensure sustainability by encouraging tribal members to play an active role in the development, management, and production of a local food source.

Lise Erdrich (Turtle Mountain) – BIE Circle of Nations Wahpeton Indian Boarding School
Gardening is a family tradition for Lise, who serves as the school health officer at Circle of Nations School in North Dakota.  She works to encourage healthy choices through the school’s “Green & Growing” local sustainable food project.  She is also an accomplished author having written award-winning books for young readers, including her acclaimed work, Sacagawea.

Sheena Kanott (Eastern Band of Cherokee) – Cherokee Choices
Cherokee Choices is a diabetes prevention program that confronts the factors which put Cherokee people at higher risk for diabetes.  The program provides social support to increase physical activity and promote well-being to reduce the risk for obesity and diabetes.

Clifton Kenon Jr. – Rosebud Indian Health Service Hospital
As the Maternal Child Health consultant for the Aberdeen Area of the Indian Health Service (IHS), Clifton has worked to implement the ‘Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding.’  This initiative will lead to the full accreditation for the first IHS hospital (Rosebud) in July of 2012.

Leatrice Lewis (Zuni) – Zuni Youth Enrichment Project
Leatrice is a co-founder of the Zuni Wellness Center and worked as the Program Manager for fifteen years.  Today, she continues her work in tribal wellness and serves as a wellness consultant to Indian tribes and other indigenous groups.

Ted Mala (Inupiat Eskimo) – Southcentral Foundation
Dr. Mala isan Alaska Native physician who comes from a family of traditional healers in Buckland, Alaska.  Now as a director of Southcentral Foundation, he bridges traditional Native healing practices with Western medicine providing physical, mental and emotional healing. 

Crispen McAllister (Karuk) – Karuk Tribal Council and Distance Runner
Since his retirement from the US Navy after deployment to Iraq, Crispen has been focused on improving the health and well-being of his community. He recently participated in a 230 mile run across the Karuk Ancestral territory to inspire Native Americans to make healthy choices.

Bruce Pecore (Menominee) – Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin
Bruce helped introduce the Badges for Baseball program to the Menominee Tribe.  Recently, he carried out an initiative to bring a grocery store to the reservation by opening the Keshena Save-A Lot which sells fresh produce and provides healthier dietary options to the Menominee people.

Tahnee Robinson (Northern Cheyenne) – Professional Basketball Player
After an outstanding college basketball career at the University of Nevada Reno, Tahnee became the first American Indian woman drafted by the WNBA.  She has since played professional basketball in Israel and is contracted to play her next season in Bulgaria. 

Valerie Segrest (Muckleshoot) – Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project
Valerie serves on the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project and as a nutrition educator for the Northwest Indian College’s Traditional Plants Program.  She co-authored the book Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit: Revitalizing Northwest Coastal Indian Food Culture.

Ben Strong, Professional Basketball Player
In college Ben was named the NCAA Division III National Basketball Player of the Year.  He has played professionally in the Netherlands, Israel and last year with the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League.  For eight years he has run Big Ben's Basketball Camp in Red Lake, Minnesota and hopes that his next endeavor will be playing professionally in the NBA.

Please join these outstanding leaders along with Senior Officials in the Obama Administration tomorrow, June 1, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. EDT online at www.WhiteHouse.gov/live.

Food Is Good Medicine (health)

Here is a link to a recent article featuring the UIHS Traditional Resources - Food Is Good Medicine Project.  This article, featured on California Watch, is a great introduction to this multi-year project funded by the CDC Native Diabetes Wellness Program.  Over the next year we will be rolling out additional community education related to this project and we look forward to sharing more information with all you in the near future.

This is a positive story that is making its rounds in healthcare circles throughout the state.  It features information not only from this program, but from many of the outstanding programs, projects and people who are all working in efforts to increase our access and knowledge about traditional foods.  Traditional Foods and the values we learn that are associated with harvesting, preparing and sharing these foods truly are good medicine.

The folks at the UIHS Traditional Resources Program are honored to be doing work that reflects their UIHS Mission of “working together with our clients and community to achieve wellness through health services that reflect the traditional values of our American Indian Community” Hope you enjoy!


Traditional Foods (health)

Traditional foods are treaty foods

Mar 5th, 2012 • Category: Being Frank

Billy Frank, Jr. Chairman NWIFC

These short, cold, rainy and sometimes snowy days of winter always make me think about our treaties. It was during this time of year more than 150 years ago that the U. S. government negotiated most of its treaties with tribes here in western Washington.

The federal government wanted our homeland. They viewed us as sovereign nations with independent authority to govern our people, lands and resources. We were treated the same as any free nation in the world because that’s what we were then and still are today.

Through the treaties we reserved the things that were most important to us as a people. Among them was the right to fish, hunt and gather shellfish and other traditional foods to feed ourselves and preserve our

Nutrition Pressing Concern Part II (health)

Nutrition a Pressing Concern for Native Americans, Part II

Reversing a negative trend

Editor's Note: This article is the second in a three-part series on health issues linked to nutritional problems in American Indian communities and what is being done to combat them. The first installment is available here

Tribal communities nationwide are working to fight the trend toward obesity and its resulting health consequences. 

Nutritionists such as DeWilde and Miller work with tribes to educate members about proper diet and healthier lifestyles.

In 2008, the Indian Health Service - a branch of the Department of Health and Human Services - reported almost 500 nutritionists working at the country's 561 federally recognized tribes. 

Using Nutrition Assistance to Promote Healthy Foods

Some tribe nutritionists work as representatives for federal supplemental nutrition programs. 

Though AI/ANs make up 1.6 percent of the U.S. population, the "Federal Food Safety Net" covers a disproportionately high percentage of this demographic. In 2010, 13 percent of the U.S. population was enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly the food stamp program, whereas 24 percent of AI/AN households received SNAP benefits. 

Nutrition Pressing Concern (health)

Complete article at:http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2012/03/nutrition-a-pressing-concern-for-american-indians/

Nutrition a Pressing Concern for Native Americans

Part I: The Nature of The Problem

Editor's Note: This article is the first in a three-part series about health issues linked to nutritional problems in American Indian communities. 

The battle with obesity has become one of the most urgent health issues in America today, as over one third of adults and 17 percent of children are now obese. But for Native Americans, this problem is even more dire. 

American Indian (AI) and Alaska Native (AN) adults are 1.6 times more likely to be obese than Caucasians, according to the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Minority Health. Almost 33 percent of all American Indians and Alaskan Natives are obese, and over half of AI/AN women are overweight. 

As a result, health consequences stemming from obesity, such as diabetes and heart disease, are also common among AI/AN people. Indeed, 16.1 percent of Native Americans and Alaskan Natives suffer from Type II diabetes, which has been closely linked to obesity. This is the highest age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes among all U.S. racial and ethnic groups, according to the American Diabetes Association

Reviving Food Traditions (health)

Young Native Americans Innovate to Revive Food Traditions

In mid-winter, the Hopi landscape appears as a beautiful yet barren expanse of gold-brown bluffs and snow-topped mesas. It’s difficult to imagine fields of the resilient desert crops that have sustained the people here for centuries. Yet, in this isolated corner of present day Arizona, the fourth world – as the Hopi refer to their tribal lands – nothing is meant to grow in the winter. It’s the time of year, traditionally, for reflection.

“December is a really sacred time for us as Hopis, digging is not permitted at this time,” says Kyle Knox, a 25-year-old Hopi/Pima farmer and multimedia professional. “It is a time to look back on what has happened to us over the year. How did I do this year? Were my crops good? What can I do different? Not only in your field but in life.”

Knox is part of a budding movement of educated young people in the U.S. Southwest working to revitalize Native American agricultural traditions. They have watched diabetes, obesity and heart disease reach crisis proportions in their communities, while their traditional foods and farming methods – well adapted to the arid climate of the desert southwest – have declined. For young Native people like Knox and Samantha Honani, a Hopi/Tewa member of the Tobacco Clan who received her bachelor’s degree in public health education, connecting Native youth with the agricultural knowledge of their ancestors is one of the best ways to address critical health, economic and environmental issues.

As program director of the Natwani Coalition, Samantha Honani is currently driving the Hopi Natwani for Youth Project, which was founded to “strengthen the ties to traditional farming between youth and elders,” she says. Natwani, which loosely translates into a potent mixture of the Hopi words for produce, life, farming and fertility, is central to Hopi existence. It is both physical and spiritual sustenance. With the help of Kyle Knox, the Natwani Coalition is creating a 12-part, video-based farming curriculum to document and disseminate Hopi agricultural knowledge. Earlier in 2011, Natwani executed the Food and Farming Community Grant program, which gave grants from $200 to 2,500 to any Hopi interested in starting or improving an ag-related project. The response from applicants was overwhelming, says Honani, pointing to the photomontages of the winning projects in Natwani’s office in Kykotsmovi Village, Arizona. The pictures depict a flowering resurgence of Hopi dry-farming traditions.

While Natwani’s successful small grants program revealed a hunger for traditional farming on the Hopi reservation, it only scratched the surface. According to the recent Hopi Community Food Assessment, “three out of four Hopi youth said they were interested in Hopi food traditions and that they want elders to teach them.” The Assessment, spearheaded by Natwani, also found that three out of four Hopi are now overweight or obese, and that less than a third of Hopi say they still actively farm or garden.

“As a Hopi, I feel that farming is important for us,” says Kyle Knox, who grows beans, corn and squash on his family’s plot. “There are a lot of life lessons that you can learn from the act of planting, caring for the plants, the act of harvesting. You can utilize that in anything you do in life.”

On the neighboring Navajo reservation, some young people feel the same way.

Lena Clitso, a Navajo college student, is the Tuba City site coordinator for the nutrition program of the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. She and her colleagues are bringing edible gardens to schools and creating community farms and farm-to-market systems to provide access to nutritious traditional foods on the reservation.

Recently, at the Eagles’ Nest Intermediate School in Tuba City, Arizona, twenty-one fourth graders broke into teams for a heated match of Gardening Jeopardy.

“Name three traditional foods,” says Clitso. Nearly twenty-one small hands shoot up in unison. Other questions in the game include: “What do worms do to the soil?” and “How do we prepare a garden for the winter?” It’s the last gardening class of the semester, and the children are as excited about growing food as they are about recess.

“I liked helping the garden,” says Troy, 10, when asked about his favorite part of the semester.

There are now gardening programs at several elementary and middle schools throughout the Navajo and Apache territories and Santo Domingo Pueblo in New Mexico. Throughout the program, elders and farmers work with youth to bring in a Native language component and the program teams are identifying and training on-staff school garden coordinators to ensure sustainability. Once the program has been thoroughly evaluated it will be scaled up to other interested Native communities across the nation. According to the program’s staff, the expansion is a response to high demand for healthy foods in the food deserts on the reservations, areas where persistent poverty, food insecurity and elevated hunger rates are prevalent. And while the uptick in interest regarding Native agriculture may be driven in part by the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes, for some young people farming is simply an important connection to land and culture, a timeless pursuit central to life itself.

“My uncle would always tell me,” says farming apprentice Kyle Knox, “if you can’t take care of a field then don’t even think of having babies.”

Diabetes (health)

Native Life is an online magazine for Native Americans who want to get fit, lose weight and fight diabetes. It helps viewers make healthy lifestyle changes by telling the real health success stories of Native moms, dads, youth and elders who have made small lifestyle changes to avoid diabetes or stay healthy with diabetes.