This Week in Native American News (4/21/17): a powwow workout, a vet school, and a long lost village.

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April 21, 2017

Great people doing great things: Powwow's for Health

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A Native American tribe is using traditional dance to fight health problems in its community.

A Coeur D'Alene tribe wellness center in Idaho holds local classes and also created workout videos so anyone can follow along at home.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows Native Americans' chances of being overweight are 50 percent higher than non-Hispanic whites.

Native American communities also face high rates of heart disease and diabetes. Socioeconomic issues and where many Native Americans live can make it hard for them to see a doctor.

"Powwow Sweat" dance moves are inspired by the tribe's traditional social meetings, also known as powwows.

Read the whole story and see the video here.

Hands-On Vet School for Navajo Students

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This is hands-on instruction in veterinary science, part classroom, part veterinary clinic. Students work and observe in two operating rooms, one for small animals, the other for large.

They conduct exams and vaccinations in a state-of-the-art $2.4 million facility, part of Monument Valley High School in Kayenta, Arizona, and its career and technical education program; 180 students, more than a quarter of the high school, have signed up for this program, where abstract concepts meet the real world.

The Ag Center opened its doors opened in 2011. This program prepares students for careers and college and much more.

Read the whole story and see the video here.

Chief challenges people to live on the rez

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"If people have a visceral reaction to the term ‘racism’, they should spend a day, a week, a month to live in one of our communities and live in the shoes, in the houses of our people," Sheila North Wilson, grand chief of the Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak said Thursday.

"I would be happy to arrange some of these experiences so they can understand why people feel hopeless and why they feel this is the most racist province in Canada," North Wilson said.

Racism is an everyday occurrence; in fact, flying to the conference, North Wilson said she and her assistant were called "wagon burners."

North Wilson said she has nothing to apologize for with her remarks about racism in Manitoba.

Racism against Native people is not exclusive to Manitoba.

She believes if people saw and lived in the conditions indigenous people endure daily, in urban areas or on reserves, they’d agree with her. 

Read the full story here.

Native Seeds Strengthen Heritage

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Late last spring—almost too late, really—a diverse team of volunteers gathered at the Hudson Valley Farm Hub, a nonprofit in the town of Hurley, New York, to plant seeds. Over the course of two days, Akwesasne tribal members led traditional ceremonies and oversaw the sowing of several nearly extinct varieties of corn, beans, and squash—the vegetables that make up a three sisters garden.

These crops, which once sustained Native Americans throughout the greater northeast, are disappearing from tribal lands. And this garden was the Hudson Valley community’s effort to restore tribal foodways.

Come autumn, the tribal seed project at the Farm Hub had succeeded beyond Greene’s expectations. The third of an acre of Mohawk red bread corn, which the Akwasasne use to make dumplings, was thriving, as was the three sisters garden, which contained about 75 mounds each planted with corn, beans, squash, and sunflowers.

At harvest time, White came in from California and Perkins brought a group from upstate. Volunteers and Farm Hub workers were taught how to thresh corn using their feet and how to braid the husks using a traditional method; the resulting chains were hung to dry. “It was a really intense cross-cultural healing process,” said Greene. “And we got a lot of seeds out of it.” From the original six pounds came 800. All the seeds and the food went back to the Akwesasne.

Up on the reservation, children made and sold squash pies. After some thought, the children decided to send the money to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe protesting the Dakota Access oil pipeline. “This is the power of seeds!” said Greene. “Sometimes we feel small, but we can be small and powerful.”

Read the full story here.

Long lost city of Etzanoa

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Wichita State University professor thinks that he’s found Etzanoa, a lost Native American city in the middle of Kansas. Donald Blakeslee believes that he’s stumbled upon the city, which reportedly might have house 20,000 people. He’s been researching the city since 2015, but when a high school kid found a half-inch iron cannon ball in the area and a water shrine, Blakeslee was convinced his theory about the size of the city was correct.

Read the full story here.

It's hard to fit so much news in such a small space.
To read all of this week's news, visit the LIM Magazine.

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