Youth and Education News
November 17, 2004, Issue 142 Volume 3
"The role of food is important, but it's gotten to the point where we become gluttons.... We could spend a lot more time really thinking about what's going on in our world and giving more thanks." Flying Eagle, chief of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe
Hearing from the talking leaves--Presidency
If 18th-century Cherokee tradition ruled the United States, President Bush would have just been elected as the "red" chief, because the nation is at war. Peacetime would have required a "white" chief with different skills. Either way, consensus would have ended debate. Dissenters would either hush or leave. Cherokees valued solidarity and harmony, not turmoil.
New era begins for Oglala Sioux with woman leader
South Dakota: When Cecelia Fire Thunder becomes president of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation next month, the 58-year-old nurse and domestic violence program director will be prepared for the skeptics. While other tribes across North America have elected women leaders, Fire Thunder is the first female chosen to lead the Pine Ridge Oglala Sioux tribe. Fire Thunder knows her activities will be scrutinized within the tribe and across the state. "I'm completely aware of what I've gotten into. I walked into this campaign with my eyes wide open," Fire Thunder said. "I know some traditionalists say a man should do this, and I'm aware of the negativity in places, of the discrimination about being a woman. But the people chose me. It's not about me anymore. It's about what skills I have that can get people working together and that can maybe improve our situation on the reservation."
Cherokee Woman Selected as Sole U.S. Candidate for Recognition of World's Most Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs
Rebecca Adamson has been selected as one of the world's most "Outstanding Social Entrepreneurs" by the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship. Adamson, who is President and Founder of the First Nations Development Institute, is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, She founded the First Nations Development Institute in 1980 to help Indigenous people control and develop their assets, and direct their economic futures to fit their cultures. While FMDI addresses eight different asset categories, it concentrates on land and natural resources as the program's key lynchpins. One of only thirteen entrepreneurs in the world selected for this recognition in 2005, Adamson and the FNDI were the only award recipients selected from the United States.
Mass: The Honoring Nations Programs celebrates exceptional tribal government activities that address key needs, problems, and challenges facing American Indian nations. Now in its fourth round of awards, Honoring Nations is administered by the Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. The 2004 awards are currently under evaluation. The winners from 2003 are:
Chukmasi Home Loan Program
Violence & Victim's Services
Nation Corrections Project
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Upscale Wear Indian Dress, but Not in the Office
Bolivia : Wearing the traditional Chola hat and layer-cake skirt, Esther Rodríguez won La Paz's beauty contest for indigenous women. Her coronation as Miss Cholita Paceña was celebrated in all the daily papers. But soon after, the same papers reported that Ms. Rodríguez never wore her pollera skirt (pronounced pol-YEH-rah) in her university classes. "My mother wears a pollera; so does my grandmother," explained Ms. Rodríguez. "I don't wear it, only because I study here in the city. " With more indigenous women living in cities, attending universities and breaking into the professional ranks, the clothing of the past is often reserved for special ceremonies and parties. "If a young woman wants another life, if she wants a law degree or to go to medical school, she cannot go dressed as a Chola," explained David Mendoza, of the Tambo Kirkincho cultural museum. Cost is also an issue. If a Chola really wants to dress to impress, the price can be prohibitive. A top-of-the-line hat can cost $200, more than most Bolivians earn in a month. And a trendy pollera can go for as much as $50. The attire must be accompanied by elaborate gold jewelry, adding yet more expense. "It's like wearing an Armani suit," said shopkeeper Patricia Yujra. "You have to have jewels that are the most beautiful, make sure that everything is just right. It's very important."
New York Times
Tribes and Tobacco
South Dakota: A study from the National Centers for Disease Control says 34% of Native Americans smoke--the highest rate of any group. But Native American elders remind us that tobacco is an important part of Native American culture, if used the right way. Russell Coker, an Oklahoma Seminole, works with youth groups in Arizona and Oklahoma to explain the importance of traditional tobacco use vs. the tobacco industry's efforts to promote smoking as "cool." Coker’s program employs elders to promote the cultural use of tobacco—and to give the youth groups five different perspectives of how tobacco is used in tribes. “What we are trying to do with the help of these elders is to encourage the youth to find out the importance of tobacco in their cultures and to keep their ties to tobacco sacred,” Coker said. The elders come from the Creek, Navajo, Seneca, Ojibwe and Haliwa-Saponi tribes.
Harvesting on the Lakes of White Earth
Minnesota: Each fall, the Ojibwa tribes of northern Minnesota harvest wild rice by hand. It's a long process that begins with families canoeing into the tall grasses where rice is poled, then gently brushed with knockers into the bed of the canoe. The White Earth Land Recovery Project organization is working to preserve these traditions and the wild rice while restoring local food systems. Through its Native Harvest label, WELRP produces and sells an array of traditional foods -- wild rice, chokecherry jelly, raspberry preserves, buffalo sausage, and more. Another group, Heritage Foods USA, is working to expand the markets and revenues of native groups throughout the country, including Native Harvest in northern Minnesota. Through thoughtful globalization, these endangered foods can be saved.
Study finds high infant mortality rate among Natives
Statistics Canada, the equivalent to the U.S. Census Bureau, says from 1981 - 2000, Native infants in British Columbia were 3.6 more times likely to die after birth than their non-Native counterparts. The data also showed that the Native infant mortality rate was high in both urban areas and rural reserves, and that economic status didn't play a factor. This disparity was even greater than the one found in the U.S. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the infant mortality rate for American Indians and Alaska Natives is 1.7 times higher than the rate for non-Hispanic whites. The agency said most post-natal deaths are preventable.
Get the Data: Infant mortality among First Nations and non-First Nations people in British Columbia (November 2004)
Study sheds light on fetal alcohol syndrome
South Dakota: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which is caused by alcohol use during pregnancy, is a preventable form of mental retardation. Doctors at the Aberdeen Area Indian Health Service reviewed 241 medical records of American Indian children for FAS criteria and found that 78 children (43 with FAS and 35 with incomplete FAS) had more facial deformities, growth deficiency, central nervous system dysfunction, and muscular problems than children without FAS. In addition, children with full or incomplete FAS were hospitalized more often with illnesses. They were also removed from their homes and placed in foster care more frequently due to alcohol abuse among the caregivers. The authors agree the best solution of preventing FAST is avoiding alcohol use during pregnancy. They also agree that children with full or incomplete FAS would benefit from community programs designed to meet their health, learning, and social needs.
Haskell students aim to tackle diabetes
Kansas: Students at Haskell Indian Nations University are launching an effort to prevent diabetes among school-age children living on Indian land.The collegians traveled to Royal Valley Elementary School for Health and Wellness day. The college students presented hands-on activities focused upon healthy eating, physical exercise, traditional foods diet modification, and ways to prevent types 1 and 2 diabetes:.
Diabetes statistics from various sources:
About 15% of American Indians and Alaska Natives who receive care from the Indian Health Service have been diagnosed with diabetes, a total of 105,000 people;
American Indians and Alaska Natives are 2.6 times as likely to have diagnosed diabetes as non-Hispanic whites of a similar age;
40-70% of American Indian adults ages 45-74 were found to have diabetes;
22.9% of Navajo adults age 20 and older had diabetes;
Researchers studying 5,274 Pima Indian children from 1967-1996 found that type 2 diabetes in girls ages 10 -14 increased from 0.72% to 2.88 % by 1996.
Two Oklahoma schools lauded for diabetes campaign
Four schools using the anti-diabetes pilot program “Move It! and reduce your risk of Diabetes” have been honored for the successful effects within their schools. The four schools are Hannahville Indian School in Michigan; Briggs School in Oklahoma; Locust Grove Public School in Oklahoma; Pine Point Public School in Ponsford, Minnesota. The program will be used as a model and guide for other school-based diabetes programs targeting Native youth with education and prevention of the disease. The campaign is targeted at youngsters ranging from ages 12-18 and uses posters and print ads.
Native American Times
Canada Struggles to Provide Food Security for Northern Communities
Manitoba: A jug of milk in some Manitoba aboriginal communities costs as much as $15. One apple can set residents back $1 or $2. To help make food available and more affordable, farmers, academics, civil servants, and civil society representatives gathered in Winnipeg for the 2004 Food Security Assembly. Their goal: to assist the Canadian government in keeping its World Food Summit promise to reduce the number of the world's hungry by half. The high cost of nutritious food may be contributing to a nutritional crisis in aboriginal communities. A common pattern in aboriginal diets is the lack of enough fruits, vegetables, and dairy products while promoting high consumption of sugar, sweets, fat and saturated fat. Intakes of calcium, magnesium, folate, vitamin C and vitamin A that are lower than recommended. The problem is particularly pronounced for the younger generation. who face abnormally high rates of diabetes and other diseases.
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