September 5, 2011

Documentary and Website Chronicle Six Journeys to Health

Screen shot 2011 09 05 at 12.28.50 AM e1315197120360 Documentary and Website Chronicle Six Journeys to HealthWith skyrocketing rates of diabetes and obesity throughout the aboriginal population, a new website and the Aboriginal Peoples’ Television Network (APTN) have teamed up to create a nationwide, multiplatform health and wellness movement, plus a six-part documentary series, based on traditional healthy aboriginal practices.

The series airs on APTN starting September 6, 2011 at 8:30 p.m., and Working It Out Together Online launched on August 30. The documentary lets viewers follow the fortunes of six Mohawk people determined to get their health back. The interactive website allows viewers to start their own health programs.

“Based on aboriginal philosophy, traditional foods, and western medical practice, Working It Out Together combines technology and social interaction, via a documentary series and interactive website to motivate Canadians and their communities towards health and wellness,” APTN said in a press release.

It’s a way to bring both health issues and aboriginal traditions mainstream, as the website is geared not just toward aboriginal but also to anyone who wants to get healthier.

The documentary series follows six Mohawk people as they work to reclaim their vitality by eating healthier and getting in shape, APTN said.

“Bringing indigenous notions of wellness to the mainstream is part of the goal of the series,” said Olympian athlete Waneek Horn-Miller, who came up with the initiative. “When we learn and live our own teachings of wellness and health, we begin to turn our own lives around. It’s not about drastic measures to lose weight, but rather to live a more balanced, healthier life.”

Read more @ Indian Country Today Media Network.comHealing Totem to Begin its Journey September 12 - Indian Country Today Media Network.com.

September 6, 2011

Healing Totem Pole Heads to National Library of Medicine

A healing totem pole is traveling cross-country to the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, Maryland, receiving traditional blessings from nine tribes along the way.

Carved with stories emblematic of “healing, hope and knowledge,” the totem will be featured in the Library’s new exhibition, “Native Voices: Native Peoples’ Concepts of Health and Illness,” opening free to the public on October 6.

The pole’s master carver Jewell Praying Wolf James of the Lummi Indian Nation and other tribal members will travel the 4,400 miles over three weeks with the totem pole from its starting point in Semiahmoo, Washington. There, the totem will receive its first traditional blessing by the Lummi Nation on September 12.

The following day, James will speak at a blessing ceremony in downtown Seattle. The Seattle event is sponsored by the NLM, the University of Washington Libraries and the Native American Land Conservancy (NALC), a co-sponsor of the journey. The NALC is a 501c3 intertribal organization dedicated to the preservation of American Indian ancestral knowledge and the protective management of endangered American Indian sacred sites and areas.

James is a lineal nephew of Chief Seattle, for whom the city of Seattle was named. He is the head carver for the House of Tears Carvers of the Lummi Nation. James’ previous work includes healing totems to honor the victims of the September 11th attacks at each of the 9/11 sites. Those totems are now installed in Arrow Park in New York, in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

NLMTotem Jewell Healing Totem Pole Heads to National Library of Medicine

Jewell by the healing totem pole (Photo courtesy of National Library of Medicine)

From Seattle, the totem will pass through a dozen states, stopping for blessing ceremonies in Montana, South Dakota, North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, New York, Connecticut and lastly Maryland.

Twenty feet in length and carved from a 500-year-old red cedar—legally harvested from a forest near the Lummi Nation Reservation—the totem represents James’ vision and voice, as well as the voice of his tribe and of the Algonquin Nation. The story at the top of the totem tells the Algonquin story of the Medicine Woman in the Moon. It teaches people to appreciate and protect their knowledge, and to recognize that some questions may take a long time to be answered, states the NLM press release.

The “Native Voices” exhibition will examine Native concepts of health and illness and show how those concepts are closely tied to community, spirit and the land.

“The exhibition honors the Native tradition of oral history and builds a unique collection of information that will enhance the understanding of healing and medicine, and the health issues affecting Native communities,” explained Donald A.B. Lindberg, director of the NLM, in a press release. “This is in keeping with the Library’s mission of collecting, organizing, and preserving medical information to improve public health. We’re excited to open this exhibition and to do it during the year the Library celebrates its 175th anniversary.”

The exhibit will feature interviews and works of art from Native people living on reservations, in tribal villages and cities. The individual stories will highlight how epidemics, government policies, the loss of land and the inhibition of Native culture impact the health of people and communities. “The exhibition also will present contemporary stories of renaissance, recovery and self-determination,” states the NLM release. The Library is planning an online version of “Native Voices,” as well as a version displayed on banners that will travel around the country.

For more about James and the totem, visit the Library’s healing totem blog at  http://nlmtotem.wordpress.com/.

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September 19, 2011

Northern Arapaho Tribe Finds Traditional Ceremonies Effective in Curbing Suicides

When a series of 12 suicides and 88 verifiable suicide attempts impacted the Wind River Indian Reservation in August and September of 1985, mental health experts from around the nation tried to intervene, reported the Star-Tribune of Wyoming. “But it wasn’t doing any good,” Nelson White Sr., an Arapaho elder, told the Tribune.

Nelson White Sr. and another elder, Crawford White, recalled how the tribal community performed traditional ceremonies following the epidemic. They said prayers and made offerings to the four directions and to the Creator. That’s when the deaths stopped for 15 years.

An Indian Health Service (IHS) analysis of the two-month suicide epidemic corroborated their account.

“This ceremony was held following the ninth suicide. It was an important cultural and spiritual event that aided in the resolution of grief and increased cohesiveness in the community. No further deaths occurred after this ceremony was held,” wrote Margene Tower, an IHS mental health consultant in a journal article published in 1989 by the Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health at the Colorado School of Public Health and the University’s Anschutz Medical Campus.

The tribe employed other efforts, such as halting the extensive media coverage thought to be highly detrimental to efforts to combat the epidemic, according to Tower’s journal article. When suicide attempts escalated directly on the heels of the heaviest media coverage in mid-September, tribal leaders barred reporters from the reservation.

Nelson White Sr. contends the power of community and prayer stopped the deaths and restored harmony. “We belong to the Creator,” he told the Star-Tribune.

Today, efforts to curb suicides “incorporate ceremonies conducted in the Arapaho language, talking circles, sweat lodges and involvement of elders, all woven together in a kind of community safety net,” the Star-Tribune stated.

Also on the reservation today, people trained to intervene before suicidal thoughts turn fatal watch for early warning signs.

Read the full article in the Star-Tribune.

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September 28, 2011

Akwesasne Women Lead Discussion at Indigenous Health Meeting

Tewakierakwa Louise McDonald  e1317153502235 Akwesasne Women Lead Discussion at Indigenous Health Meeting

Tewakierakwa Louise McDonald stands beside her presentation of Oherokon (“Under the husk”), the young women's rites of passage ceremonies. (Courtesy of Sky Woman Media)

A group of Akwesasne women recently promoted  innovative, female-led health programs that are succeeding with Indigenous communities at the Second International Meeting on Indigenous Women’s Health in Albuquerque, New Mexico from September 14-16, according to a Sky Woman Media press release.

The three-day program attracted obstetrician-gynecologists, midwives, family physicians, nurses, advanced practice nurses, community providers and others from across North America.

Speakers and participants discussed the many forces affecting Indigenous women’s health and well-being. Panel discussions and breakout sessions were geared at improving the health status of Indigenous women and their families, raising awareness of the emerging health needs and unique solutions in Indigenous populations, and increasing the ability to provide culturally competent care that recognizes traditional knowledge and approaches.

Among the  leaders this year was a group of Akwesasne women who work in various circles of community health: Katsi Cook, renowned traditional midwife and director of First Environment Collaborative, a reproductive health and justice program through Running Strong for American Indian Youth; Beverly Cook, family nurse practitioner at St. Regis Mohawk Health Services; Louise McDonald, Mohawk Nation Bear Clan Mother and intervention/prevention specialist with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne’s (MCA) Holistic Health and Wellness Program; and Randi Barreiro, consultant for First Environment Collaborative. Jessica Yee, founder and executive director of Native Youth Sexual Health Network, represented youth voices on the planning committee. Tyendinaga Mohawk Cherylann Brant, a White Bison Wellbriety instructor joined them.

“It is absolutely critical for Akwesasne’s community health leaders to be directly involved in this kind of international effort to advance collaborative work in indigenous women’s health at all levels of practice,” said Katsi Cook.

Katsi’s panel talk centered on the role of cultural identity in health promotion and the adolescent rites of passage ceremonies led by McDonald.

That evening, McDonald’s multi-media presentation on Oherokon proved very popular among the attendees. Nearly 100 people visited with her to inquire about the annual 5-month-long program, which includes elements such as self-esteem builders, meditation, and workshops on sexual wellbeing and reproductive health.

Katsi’s organization First Environment Collaborative helps support the community-based and women-led projects Centering Pregnancy and Oherokon that intertwine culture, identity and health promotion.

“All the Mohawk women from the Akwesasne group at the Second International Meeting on Indigenous Women’s Health are ‘constructive knowers,’ which is to say that they are community leaders who draw from the superlatives of cultural memory and contemporary realities to transform our communities,” said Katsi Cook.

“The Centering Pregnancy model of group care and Oherokon rites of passage provide skill building and resilience for community youth and women of reproductive age. These critical windows of development are vitally important to the future of Indian Country because industrial chemicals and heavy metals in the environment, including our food supply, affect human reproductive health and well-being.

The windows of susceptibility are in fetal life, adolescence and early reproductive life, especially before the first full-term pregnancy,” she continued. “These exposures impact sexual development, impair hormonal function and neurological development of our unborn, and lead to disease and alterations in gene expression across the generations, even following brief exposures.”

As a Reach fellow at the University of California at San Francisco’s Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment, Katsi considers the prevalence of pesticides and their impact on Indigenous youth absolutely critical The Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment is designed to help grassroots organizations like First Environment Collaborative directly inform the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on important issues.

Beverly Cook, a 2010 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Community Health Leader nominee, led a breakout session on the empowerment model of group care, specifically citing the success of the Centering Pregnancy program at the St. Regis Mohawk Health Services. Beginning in February 2010, the clinic revised its pre-natal care program to encourage group interaction, while also integrating Native teachings.

“We group women with other women at about the same gestational stage ,” Beverly explained. “Topics are raised by the moms themselves, and there is a curriculum,” to guide the mothers in conversations about the “discomforts of pregnancy, relaxation techniques, birth control methods, gestational diabetes, labor and delivery, birth planning” and more.

One of the goals of the Centering Pregnancy program at SRMHS is to incorporate Mohawk culture into pre-natal discussions.

“Our Creation story, the story of how our world came to be, relates to the reproductive cycle of the woman,” Beverly said.

Beverly said attendees at the Second International Meeting on Indigenous Women’s Health asked questions related to dynamics, such as how the Centering Pregnancy staff helped facilitate discussion among the women. Beverly explained that they created an environment to enhance the “natural relationship women have with one another. If you take away all barriers, women do what comes natural, and that’s helping each other,” she said.

Overall, Beverly found the conference addressed key issues such as, “bringing about change in your workplace and bringing innovative ideas to the forefront,” she said. “Change is hard; people may meet it with resistance along the way. But we are doing what we feel is better medicine for the community. The conference was really empowering. It made me feel like we’re on the right track.”

One of the highlights of the Second International Meeting was a brief performance and presentation by Cree singer/songwriter and educator Buffy Sainte-Marie. She gave an inspiring talk on traditional approaches to women’s health care. Her work is especially relevant to Akwesasne; her Cradleboard Teaching Project in the late 1990’s included community members and local schools in an early web-based curriculum endeavor.

The biennial meeting is presented by the Indian Health Service, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the National Aboriginal Health Organization, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada, and the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.

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September 29, 2011

Michael Bucher to Perform Free Concert in Name of Native Youth Suicide

Believe Michael Bucher to Perform Free Concert in Name of Native Youth Suicide

Michael Bucher dedicated his newest album "Believe" to "the children throughout Indian Country who are battling their struggle with suicide," according to www.michaelbucher.com. (Courtesy of www.michaelbucher.com)

Two-Time Nammy winning Cherokee folk artist Michael Bucher will perform and speak to residents and community members on the Lac Courte Oreilles (LCO) Reservation in Hayward, Wisconsin on October 6. The free concert and presentation is dedicated to Native youth who are battling their struggle with suicide.

Bucher’s most recent album “Believe,” similarly in honor of children throughout Indian Country fighting against suicidal thoughts, won Best Folk Recording at the 12th Annual Native American Music Awards. The CD had been nominated in five categories for this year’s Nammy’s, which was held on November 12 at the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls, New York.

As an artist known for his performances that combine reactionary folk music and informative storytelling, he will also be telling Native Youth and other members of the LCO community about the You Are Not Alone Network (YANAN), a new online social media and suicide resource website founded in part by Bucher and created to help put a stop to Native teen suicide, reported Schilling Media, Inc.

“I’m looking forward to traveling to the LCO Reservation to speak and play a few songs and for the opportunity to talk about the You Are Not Alone Network,” Butcher said.

“As co-founder, I’m happy to say that we launched our inter-active website on September 10, 2011: www.youarenotalonenetwork.org. It’s still in the tweaking stage but all in all is ready for our Native youth who are struggling with taking their own lives. As you know, in Indian country, we have a suicide rate three times higher in kids 19 and under, than any other race in the country. The website will grow with time, but here and now, we tell our kids across the country, Alaska and Canada, you are not alone with your struggle.”

The Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College is postponing classes and opening the concert to the entire community. Afterward, Bucher will stop at the local radio station WOJB, which first played his music soon after he released his first album “Seven” in 2007.

“WOJB is the first station to ever play my music,” Bucher said in a press release. “To say I respect and love that station is an understatement. I will never forget that or them. Nor do I take it lightly or for granted. I’ve never played at the college and don’t know what to expect, so I try to take away as much of the ‘unexpected’ as possible. I don’t find it a coincidence that WOJB is the first station to play my music and LCO is the first tribal college that I’ll be speaking about YANAN to. I am truly honored.”

Watch Michael Bucher perform songs from the album “Believe” and discuss the message of this CD dedicated to Native youth:

Click here to view the embedded video.

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October 2, 2011

State-of-the-Art Dialysis Unit Serves Diabetes Patients on the Pine Ridge Reservation

Filed under: Health & Wellness,News Alerts — Tags: , , , , , — ICTMN Staff @ 1:00 pm

It’s called Mni Wiconi, the water of life, and it is the  name of a rural water system that transects the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

It’s particularly appropriate for the Sharps Unit of the Dialysis Management Group (DMG) on the reservation, where via a filtration system it helps to sustain the lives of diabetes patients as it flows through dialysis machines.

Older clients chat in Lakota and there are other culturally familiar features as well—an Oglala Lakota spiritual leader presided over the groundbreaking ceremony last December and DMG staff formed the Lakota Dialysis Chapter, the only reservation chapter of the National Association of Nephrology Technicians, said Allen Rada, chief executive officer of the DMG.

“I’m glad it’s here for people on the reservation, including my own people,” noted Norma Tibbits, nurse manager of the Sharps Unit, who, like most of the Unit’s 10 employees, is an Oglala Lakota tribal member.

But the clinic’s technology is all mainstream and it is the first dialysis unit in South Dakota to meet the guidelines of the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Rada said by telephone.

The 6,000-square-feet building is built to withstand extremes of Dakota weather and is “all state-of-the-art,” he said, pointing out that it has wells for geothermal heating and a generator power source: “We could use it as a community center five days, if necessary.”

“The exterior finishes of the building were selected to withstand frequent sustained winds exceeding 90 miles per hour,” according to MedCon USA, which did project engineering in collaboration with subcontractors under the Tribal Employment Rights Office.

Given the extreme blizzards of last winter and a possibility of heavy snowfall this year, use of the facility as an emergency shelter  is a possibility, Tibbits agreed in a phone interview.

In its primary purpose as a hemodialysis clinic, it saves patients the 70-plus-miles round trip to a dialysis unit in Pine Ridge they had to make when the former dialysis unit in nearby Porcupine was closed for about three years because of structural problems.

The current clinic serves rural communities that include Porcupine, Wambli, Kyle, Allen, Martin, Wounded Knee, Manderson, and others in the sparsely populated Northern Plains area.

Rada describes Sharps Corner, about five miles north of 400-resident Porcupine, as having a ruined church, convenience stop, and “our beautiful facility.”

The Unit’s 23 patients may arrive as early as 6 a.m. for weigh-in during the three days weekly the clinic is open and they remain on dialysis three to four hours as the dialysis machine rids the body of excess urea, a waste that builds up when kidneys no longer excrete it through normal functioning, Tibbits said.

The patients come in shifts, the last of which  ends at 6 or 6:30 p.m. and while they are in treatment often read, sometimes sleep, or watch television from  sets available at each dialysis chair, she said.

The Sharps clinic is a 12-chair unit, though two of the chairs are in isolation units which would be used in case contagious hepatitis B patients were admitted, which hasn’t happened to date.

Many patients are older—the oldest is 74–and their need for dialysis is generally linked to “diabetes, and not taking care of themselves,” she said.

But two of the patients are ages  24 and 28, the former with kidney failure possibly related to medication taken for an unrelated reason, and the latter with kidney function  impaired from an unknown cause—not the high blood pressure or diabetes that often trigger problems, she said.

Kidney disease is all too familiar in Indian country, where Indian adults are 2.6 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites of similar age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The CDC notes that between 1990 and 1998 the overall diabetes prevalence rate increased by 46 percent, but the largest growth was in Native adolescents 15 to 19 years of age, specifically 60 percent in girls and 81 percent among boys.

The agency also notes that the “dramatic increases among young American Indians and Alaska Natives raises concerns about the impact of diabetes on future generations of Native Americans.”

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October 7, 2011

Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate Passes Landmark Sexual-Abuse Statute

“We’re so relieved,” said Mary Jane Wanna, 65, of the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate council’s passage of a new childhood-sexual-abuse statute, which will allow tribal members to file claims in tribal court. The council approved the measure on September 27, after an energetic four-month campaign by Wanna and other elders, who have alleged they were abused as youngsters while attending a Catholic Church-run residential facility for tribal children. The ordinance provides another legal option for those affected by the South Dakota legislature’s 2010 state law—HB1104—which restricts civil claims for childhood sexual abuse by those over 40.

The Sisseton Wahpeton law is the first of its type in the country, according to Vito De La Cruz, Yaqui, an attorney with Tamaki Law, a Washington State firm that was instrumental in the recent $166-million settlement reached with the Jesuits on behalf of hundreds of former students who had charged abuse at the religious order’s schools in the Northwest and Alaska. “All tribes have criminal child-sex-abuse statutes, but this is the first civil one and allows plaintiffs whose cases have been dismissed in other jurisdictions to file in tribal court,” said De La Cruz, who added that both state and federal courts honor tribal court judgments.

“Sisseton Wahpeton is giving its tribal members their day in court—in their own court,” said Ken Bear Chief, Gros Ventre/Nez Perce/Nooksak, an investigator and paralegal with Tamaki Law. “It is within tribes’ power to hear personal-injury claims against organizations that operated within their boundaries.”

Wanna and others—including her brother Howard, 60, who is dying of cancer and regards his efforts as a way to protect further generations—have advocated for the change since early this past summer. They buttonholed Sisseton Wahpeton officials and talked up the statute at district gatherings, elders’ groups, tribal council meetings, a public forum and even the grocery store, said Mary Jane.

“I told one councilor we’re always throwing around the word oyate—meaning ‘my people, our people.’ And I said to him, ‘I’m your people,’ ” she recalls. “He told me not to worry. Now I hope every other reservation in South Dakota follows suit with a law of their own. It can and should be done.”

When Sisseton Wahpeton’s tribal council agreed to turn its attention to the issue earlier this year, Mary Jane’s sister Patricia, 61, was elated, saying, “Finally, we’re someone. We’re not ‘nothing’ anymore.” Now, Patricia said, “I feel a weight off my shoulders.”

Critics of HB1104, including Robert Brancato, head of South Dakota’s chapter of the national advocacy group Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), have alleged bias. Brancato has noted that the 2010 bill followed a wave of 100-some Native American lawsuits in the state against the Church and its South Dakota boarding schools. The Native plaintiffs are virtually all over 40 because of the time period during which the Church ran the now-notorious facilities. Claims by the Wannas and others at Sisseton Wahpeton are now before a South Dakota state court that has already used HB1104 to nix lawsuits arising from St. Paul’s Indian Mission, in Marty, South Dakota.

The Church thought its problems were over, said Howard Wanna: “But they’re not. We passed this law, and the lawsuits will let the world know we were molested and tortured. The abuse affected every family on this reservation. We went through hell.”

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October 18, 2011

Information on Indian Boarding School Attendees in Michigan Sought

The Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe’s Michigan Industrial Indian Boarding School Committee is seeking information on members who attended the Indian boarding school in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, which was in operation from the 1890s to 1930s.

Information such as who attended, stories about the school, death records, or any other information is being sought.

“Discrepancies in the death records exist and information on any and all individuals can help to resolve these issues,” reads a press release.

Anyone with information can contact the Ziibiwing Cultural Center’s Research Center at 989-775-4748.

Below is a list of children who died while attending the boarding school and their parents.

Mt Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School Deaths 1895-1934

1892-Read Claud Pearns-15 yrs- Isaac & Mary Pearns

1894-Anna Jackson-William & Rosa Jackson

1894-David Chiffenrey?-John & Mary Chiffenrey

1894-lsaac Bird

1894-Peter Adams-Thomas & Eliza Adams.

1894-Sarah Adams-Thomas & Eliza Adams

1895-Joseph Bennet-Peter & Lucy Bennett

1895-Joseph Bennett-Peter & Lucy Bennett

1895-Matilda Bradley-Joseph & Mary Bradley

1895-Minnie Thompson-James & Mary Thompson

1895-Sarah Chingwah-Louis Chingwah & ?

1895-Willie Jackson -James & Sarah (Baldwin) Jackson

1896-Elsie Bradley- Joseph & Mary Bradley

1896-Joseph Chippewa-Joseph 1. Chippewa

1897-Grace Nottawa-Frank & Ines James

1898-Edward Messanger-Brother-Peter Messanger

1898-Emma Red Bird-John Red Bird & ?

1898-Lizzy Spruce-Ase Spruce & ?

1899-Alexander Shaw-parents unknown

1899-Eddie Winnie- Esther Winnie &?

1899-Edwin Andrew- David Andrew & Elizabeth Chipney

1899-lman? Silvo?- Silas Wamuquas & ?

1899-Jacob Magonse-Antoine Magonse

1899-Joseph Hardley-Dennis & Mary Jane Hardley

1899- Levi Jackson Jr – Martin & ? Jackson

1899-no name

1899-Samuel Shors/Shoes?- parents unknown

1899-Wm Widingoak-parents unknown

1900-Jas, Corbin-Joseph Corbin & Sophina Thomas

1900-Mary A. Casey-Peter Casey & ?

1900-Maud Lyons-Willie Lyons & Sarah Wheaton

1900-Pcler Eggleston- Solomon Eggleston & Nancy Wabenaw

1900-Peter 0 Fish-Fred 0 Fish & Vcresa Sononebc

1901-Anna Pontiac-Emery Pontiac & ?

1901-Emma Bill Jackson-Indian Bill &?

1902-Edward Green-parents unknown

1902-Esther Otto-Marcus Otto &?

1902-Jessie Chatfield-Thomas Chatfield & Emma Williams

1902-Samuel Foster- Samuel Foster & Nancy Williams

1902-S8r8h Watson-Amos Watson & ?

1902-Victoria Fichette-parents unknown

1903-Jenice? Kalkahgo-Geo, Kalkahgo & ?

1903-John Pontiac-Emery Pontiac & Nancy Pcbis

1903-Kinney Bradley- Joseph & Mary Bradley

1903-Lcwis Kcwaygoshkum?- John Kewaygoohkimc ? & ?

1904-Alice Chick urn-Frank Chickum & ?

1904-Amelia Battiee-John Sattiee & Mary Smi th

1904-David Will iams-John Williams & ?

1904- lda Johnson-Peter & ? Johnson

1904-Jarncs Jackson-James Jackson & Mary PaslUlu-Pashnce

1904-Jennie Bennett-Peter Bermett & Lucy Nelson

1904-Joseph Pontiac- Emery Pontiac & Nancy Peters

1904-Joseph Solomon-John Solomon & Mary Shc\Vago

1905- Ida Chibness-Jacob James

1905-Anable Wameguainc-Jno Wamegwaine ? & Helen F. Smith

1905-Blanchc Bellow- Mrs, Balenger

1905-Ceclia Rapp-Mary Rapp & ?

1905-Edward Chiner-parents unknown

1905-Jane Pontiac-Emcry Pontiac & Nancy Peters

1905-Lcwis Strong-Henry Strong & Nancy Nowgezhek

1905-Lirnan Jackson-parents unknown

1906-James Hamiliton-Jennie Hamilton & ?

1906-John Chippewa-Wm Chippewa & Mary Simon

1906-Louise Leareanx-Jannaine Learcanx & Jennet Fisher

1906-Mary Boucha-P, Boucha

1906-Mary Stone-? & Sarah Lamorandier

1906-Thomas Epson-Salomen Egron ? & Nancy Wabanan

1906-Ulysis S. Pelcher-Moses Pelchcr & Maria Peters

1907-Daniel Strong-Geo Strong & Martha Wagnagumse (Waymegvvanse)

1907-lda Boulton-Richard Boulton

1907-Wm. Thomas- parents unknown

1908-Bessie Iron s-Jacob Williams

1908-lda Boulton- Richard Boulton & Ann ie Labasash

1908-Louis Vallicr-Jason Vallier & ?

1908-Nancy Bennett-Peter Bennett & Rosi Nelson

1908-Rosa Elk-Daniel Elk & ?

1909-Andrew Thompson- Joe Thompson & Martha Corbin

1909-Emma Thompson-John Thompson & Elizabeth Johnson

1909-Esther Soloware? (Solomon)- John Solomon & Mary Shawgrun

1910-Alma Paul- Isaac Paul & ?

1910-Eunice Pego-Justice Pego & Mary Cabinson

1910-Francis Shaycaw-Eliza Shaycaw & ?

1910-Jennie Corbin-Thomas Corbin & Allie Peters

1910-John Thomas-Fred Thomas & ?

1910-Mary Corbin-Joseph Corbin & ? Thompson

1910-Roland Paul- Isaac Paul & ?

1911-Daniel Thompson-John Thompson & Charlotte ?

1911-Ely Wheaton-Joseph Wheaton & Susan Collins

1911-Theresa Chosea-Eugene Chosea &?

1911-William Bailey-James Bailey & ?

1911-William F. Winchester-Thomas J. Winchester & ?

1912-Elijah Jackson- James Jackson & Mary Pashiner (Pashnee)

1912-Jennett Thompson- Joseph Thompson & Martha Corbin

1912-Joseph Gravel-Mrs. Mamie LaBane-sister

1912-Mary Williams-John & ? Williams

1912-Robert Mark-Alfred Mark & ?

1912-Wesley Moses-David Moses & Martha Ashman

1913-Dolly Bennett-David Bennett & ?

1913-Elizabeth Adams-Thomas Adams & Eliza Peters

1914- Adam Paul-Mary Paul & ?

1914-Alice Walker-Jacob Walker & Anna Pete

1914-David Keway CloudS-Abram Keway Clouds & ?

1915-Lcna Hecbawas-Jos Hashawas &?

1916-Richard Foster-Phil etus Foster & ?

1916-Sampson Willi ams-James Williams & Mary Pickett

1917- Daniel Agosa-Albert Agosa & ?

1917-Aggie Foster-Solomon Strong & Maggie Foster

1917-Charlie Nisson-James Nisson & Edith Eike

1917-Naomi Pelcher-Peter Pelcher & Adaline Collins

1917-0scar Lahay-Louisa Lahay & ?

1918-Allison Peters-James Peters & Mary Nepoue?

1918-Bertha Wheaton- Joe Wheaton & Sussie Collins

1918-Dennison Pelcher- Peter Pelcher & Adaline Collins

1918-Ida James Fisher-John James Williams & Eliza Fisher

1918-Joseph Chippewa- Samuel & Angeline Chippewa

1918-Julia Bailey-Baney & Helen Bailey

1918-Lena Elk-Elijah Elk & Eliza Pinege

1918-LucilIe Chippeway-parents unknown

191 8-Rose 0’Deivian-Ambrose O’Deivian & Philomenk?

1919-Flossie Jackson Blackmer- Glen Blackmer & May Jackson

1919-Fred Foster-?man Foster & ?

1920-Edward Jackson-John & Lizzie Jackson

1920-Eileen Kay-Augur Kay & Martha Marshall

1920-Issac Ashquat-Chas Ashquat & Rose Issac

1920-Lena Otto-Peter Otto & Emma Jackson

1920-Naney Bennett-Daniel Bennett & Edith Issac

1920-Thelma Peters-Frank Peters & Grace Bennett

1920-William Corbin-Thomas & Susie Corbin

1921-Daniel Thompson-John Thompson & Charlotte Johnson

1921-Eva May Chapman-Bela Chapman & ?


1921-Wadle Shanans-Jacob Shanano & Agnes Salomon

1922-Edward Novotny-Albert Novotny & Margaret Paron

1922-Theodore Jackson-Cornelius Jackson & Martha Fisher

1922- Wallington Pelcher-Peter Pelcher & Adeline Collins

1923-Clarence Medavis-Johnson Medavis & Bertha Mosier

1923-Mary Bowen-George E. Bowen & Jennie Kijigobinease

1924-Alicc E. Fisher-Joe Fisher & Mary Trout

1924-Banche Bennett-Peter Bennett & Alma Tronsway? (Fronsway)

1924-Helen Andrews-Peter & Mary Andrews

1924-Laugers Collins-Israel Collins & Mary Francis

1925-Lewis Joseph- Samuel Joseph & Ida Williams

1925-Mary Shawagin-Smith Shawagin & Julia Smith

1925-Silas Hoot-Thomas Hoot & ?

1925-Zeulah Fisher-Joseph Fisher & Lcni Wabgeside

1926-Frederick Fisher-parents unknown

1926-Regina Fi sher-Nonnan Fisher & Pearl Nolta

1927-Henry Pego-James Pego & Jessie Bennett

1927-Henry Thompson-John & Charlotte Thompson

1930-David LaPointe- 17 yrs- Jason LaPointe & ?

1932-Gorden Miron-Joseph Miron & ?

1932-Rhoda Collins-Elliot Collins & Anna Chatfield

1933-Leota Segan-Joseph Segan & ?

Read more @ Indian Country Today Media Network.comProvincial Election Roundup - ICTMN.com.

October 20, 2011

Potawatomi Traditional Gardener Promotes Growing Healthy Foods To Prevent Diabetes

A Prairie Band Potawatomi traditional gardener educates others through his work with the National Diabetes Prevention “Return to a Healthy Past” Program

Originally published in the fall 2011 issue of the Potawatomi News

It seemed like a perfect fit when the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Health Center’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) was advertising for a project coordinator and gardener. What they wanted was a person who knew how to garden and could educate the community by raising healthy foods.

Eddie Joe Mitchell in PBP Gardens e1319057729114 Potawatomi Traditional Gardener Promotes Growing Healthy Foods To Prevent Diabetes

Eddie Joe Mitchel in the PBP Gardens (By Suzanne Heck)

Enter Eddie Joe Mitchell, a life-long reservation resident from Mayetta, Kansas, who has been managing the “Return to a Healthy Past” program since 2009. It’s been an easy sell for Mitchell who has been growing food all of his life and preserving it by utilizing traditional Potawatomi ways.

“I grew up out here when there was no running water or electricity,” Mitchell said. “Many families had to garden, pick nenwezhek (milkweed), hunt and fish or they would go hungry. It wasn’t a luxury but a necessity. Our old people predicted that the day will come when if you didn’t do these things you wouldn’t eat. Is that during my lifetime or is that of my kids? When? Or do we even believe in such nonsense?”

One of Mitchell’s goals with the “Return to a Healthy Past” program is to educate people on how to grow healthy foods and to preserve and store it for later use. He is also interested in training families to grow individual gardens in lieu of the larger community gardens that have been grown since 2004 when the program began.

“I would rather see 10-30 families raising their own vegetables and saving them for use through-out the year instead of just growing the large community gardens like we’ve done in the past,” he said. “The truth is the gardens aren’t big enough to support the community so it’d be nice if families would begin growing their own.  Last year I gave classes on drying corn and squash and another on making hominy. We have supplies to teach canning and I envision people growing and preserving their own food rather than buying from food markets. This however, will take time.”

Mitchell said he knows that gardening is hard work, which unfortunately makes it unattractive to people. However, he said that there is great personal satisfaction in growing your own produce and integrating traditional techniques at every step from beginning to end when the food is dried for storage.

Mitchell draws from his heritage of growing crops and knowledge of traditional and cultural philosophies that have been developed in unison with the Kansas prairie landscape.

He also believes in keeping gardening genetically pure and is a stickler about using only non-hybrid seeds that he saves from harvest to harvest. He said that he also keeps a few heirloom seed stashes that have been passed by people through time and are in keeping with Potawatomi ways. Some seeds are used to grow only traditional crops for ceremonial purposes, like tobacco, for example and are a rite of passage to him.

Mitchell is also a master at promoting the “Return to a Healthy Past” program. Last year he and the rest of the DPP staff held a Harvest Feast on the reservation that drew more than 300 people. Only traditional dishes were served like ninwezhek (milkweed soup and pork), shi keh (turtle), Indian sweet corn (hominy), bison, and crook necked squash (cushaw), and during the feast the staff gave diabetes prevention tips and other information about the DPP program.

In addition, Mitchell has created a power point presentation on gardening tips and a poster that is available through the PBPN Health Center Services. He was also a presenter at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Traditional Foods Conference in South Carolina recently and conducted a radio interview for the CDC called Native foods & traditional lifestyles. The CDC has designated the PBPN program as one of the best in Indian Country, according to Mitchell.

The “Return to a Healthy Past” program is funded by the CDC and located in the DPP offices that are housed at the PBP Health Center. Other components of the DPP include a program on Special Diabetes Prevention for Indians (SDPI), a medical program on diabetes prevention and a lifestyle fitness exercise program.

Also incorporated into the “Return to a Healthy Past” program is an annual community hike that is held each fall. Other sponsors of the hike include the Department of Planning and EPA. Mitchell said that up to 40 people have gone on the hikes in the past that include a campout and nature walk. The group doesn’t follow a trail or road; they set out across the natural terrain. Hikers teach each other about prairie plants and the wildlife, while getting some good exercise at the same time.

About the Prairie Band community gardens:

This summer, there were four large community gardens planted at the Health Center, Fire Keepers Elder Center, Boys & Girls Club and the Language House. Mitchell also constructed some smaller raised garden beds at those sites which was a new addition this year.

At some of the buildings where the larger gardens were located, he also installed composters and rain barrels. Composters were placed at those buildings that have meal sites and the rain barrels collected water runoff from roofs on buildings that is then used on the gardens. Additionally, Mitchell has plans to add five small greenhouses for growing seed starts and other plants to get a jump on next year.

He also helped cultivate 11 individual family garden plots and hopes that this number will continue to grow.


Mitchell also purchased a John Deere 4105 tractor that has attachments like a pull-behind tiller and a walk-behind new tiller/brush hog that is being used for tilling the gardens. The equipment is helping him manage more garden area and at his own pace rather than having to rely on the scheduling of other PBPN staff in departments that have similar equipment. A storage building is also in the works that will keep the machinery and equipment in good working order and away from the elements of weather.

Suzanne Heck is the editor of the Potawatomi News.

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October 26, 2011

American Indians ‘Swim For Life’ From Alcatraz to San Francisco Shore

Filed under: Health & Wellness,News Alerts — Tags: , , — Pete Verral @ 7:00 pm
AlcatrazSwim2 e1319590096237 American Indians Swim For Life From Alcatraz to San Francisco Shore

By Johan Wikman

It’s about 1.2 miles from Alcatraz to the San Francisco shore, which doesn’t seem a long swim until you consider the frigid, mid-50 degree water and perilous currents of the San Francisco Bay. On October 17, Native Americans from South Dakota, Alaska, Washington and the San Francisco Bay Area completed the swim—with just six days training.

Fred Crisp, one of the organizers and a San Francisco resident said, “Today’s swim was truly the ‘Magnificent Twelve,’ with the oldest swimmer being 62 years old, and the youngest being 15 years old. Three of the 12 swimmers had only one swim before this, and all of the members had little or no experience on open water, especially cold waters such as the San Francisco Bay.”

The event concluded the ninth annual PATHSTAR Alcatraz Swim Program, a week-long event, which ran from October 9-17. PATHSTAR, a San Francisco-based nonprofit, inspires active lifestyle and healthy nutrition practices in communities throughout Indian Country.

One goal of PATHSTAR is to counteract the diabetes epidemic affecting American Indians and Alaska Natives at disproportionate rates. When compared with the population as a whole, American Indians are three times more likely to die from diabetes-related complications, according to federal Indian Health Service statistics.
 Obesity is a leading risk factor of diabetes, and Native youth are twice as likely to be overweight than are young people in the general population.

During the week prior to the swim, the participants visited farmer’s markets and school programs, learned  healthy cooking practices and worked with dieticians and physical fitness experts. Following the program, they returned to their communities as ambassadors of change, sharing their experiences and ideas with family and friends.

The Lakota message, “Oyate kin nipi kte: So that the people will live,” succinctly expresses the motivation for the participants.

Terry Mills, an Oglala Lakota member from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota, said, “I plan to put what we have learned here to work on the reservation. We need to encourage more gardening of fruits and vegetables without the use of pesticides and chemicals. We learn a lot from each other. We bring some of our language, our culture. Anybody can do this—age is not an issue.”

Zolina Zizi, a Cheyenne and Arikara Creek member from Richmond, California, plans to use the knowledge she gathered from the program to be a catalyst for change, helping youth get access to fresh produce. “I will be working on placing gardens in schools and getting healthy foods into schools. I will definitely spread the word.”

Shelli Joy Martinez, a member of the Okanogan Indian Band of British Columbia and the Colville Federated Tribes in Washington expressed similar sentiments. “This was an exceptional experience with a dedication to a healthy lifestyle. This was about eating, learning, and how to prepare for a new lifestyle. By preparing for our swim, we learned that we can overcome any obstacle….”

The experience not only taught participants valuable lessons to reclaim their health, they built lifelong friendships and strong support networks. “I had an intense week of knowledge, friendship, and support to complete an event I didn’t think I could,” said Jeffrey Not Help Him, an Oglala Lakota member from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. “I did it…. There were sacrifices that I chose to make and they understood. I lost people I loved, but gained new friends. And I’m blessed, truly blessed. I see that through the ten thousand colors. When you say you can’t, you can.”

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