Archive for the ‘Health and Fitness’ Category

High school students in a South Dakota town are helping to bring bison back, thanks to a program that encourages consumption of the sacred animal through cooking and other classes.

As Kristi Eaton of the Associated Press reports, the program is also inspiring a reconnection to culture.

The program was started by Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe and South Dakota State University researchers at Flandreau Indian School.

    The school began preparing school meals with fresh bison meat last year as part of the pilot project.

    Nearly 20 professors across five departments at SDSU are involved in the project, which they hope will be used as a model among other tribes trying to revive the demand for bison.

    Although bison tastes a bit different — some think it has a sweeter, richer flavor than beef — Flandreau Indian School senior Dillon Blackbird said he prefers school meals served with bison because it’s “real meat.”

    One of more than 30 students from the Flandreau Indian School to take part in cooking workshops with bison as the main ingredient, Blackbird said he now knows how to whip up his own dishes with bison, which has less fat and fewer calories than beef.

    “I make basic stuff: tacos, enchiladas, spaghetti, lasagna,” Blackbird said.

    SDSU researchers want other teenagers to follow Blackbird’s lead, creating a market within the tribe for the next 40 to 50 years and changing the way members think about the animal.

Jenna Cederberg


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Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant

Mark Trahant is a Kaiser Media Fellow examining the Indian Health Service and its relevance to the national health care reform debate. He is a member of Idaho’s Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. Comment here.

This New Year I am experimenting, instead of resoluting. (I know, it’s not a real word. But it just sounded right.) I’m interested in how technology can play a role in behavior change, how to eat less, drink enough water, exercise more, and sleep better.

The tool I’m playing with is called a Fitbit. I’ll write more about that later, but it’s already interesting because it measures steps, your sleep pattern (although I am quite ready to argue about falling asleep in the chair while watching TV. The device (and my family) says “yes,” but I know better.

I see how this technology could be helpful to wellness programs. Sunday I walked 11,289 steps (not quite 3 miles), consumed more than 2,000 calories and slept 8 hours, waking up 7 times during the night.

We change what we measure – and that includes our own behavior. Just by watching my personal data, I am inclined to walk more and eat less.

But that’s only part of what could make Fitbit important to a wellness routine. Part two will come when others I know are on the system and add their stats through social networks. Think of a community of folks who are rooting for your success, for your better health, as you urge them forward.

This is more experiment, than a resolution. But this is the season for resolutions – and for many that means it’s time to quit smoking.

Read the rest of this entry »

Myron Rolle in FSU's game with Maryland last year. (AP photo)

Myron Rolle in FSU's game with Maryland last year. (AP photo)


We already knew Florida State safety Myron Rolle was pretty cool, right? All-American and a Rhodes Scholar, with long-range plans that include the NFL and med school.

It gets better. Yesterday, Rolle and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced a new partnership to bring an innovative physical fitness and health program into Interior-funded American Indian schools.

“I am inspired by the way American Indian tribes have persevered and thrived, while retaining their cultural heritage and identity,” Rolle says in this Tulsa Native Times story. “There are, however, significant health concerns that challenge this population – in particular diabetes and obesity.”

The Our Way to Health Program aims to get Indian schoolchildren to improve their diet and exercise habits and, by extension, those of their families. It will launch in five schools in Arizona and New Mexico.

Rolle initially developed the curriculum for American Indian fifth-graders at a charter school in Okeechobee, Florida, when he was working with the Seminole Tribe. Rolle was an All-American safety for Florida State University in 2008-2009, but has delayed entering the National Football League to pursue studies as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford.

As part of the program, Rolle will visit each of the five schools twice.

Gwen Florio


It appears to be a day for posts about things delayed. First, the Cobell case; then the interminable indecision on federal recognition for Little Shell Chippewa. Now there’s this story about Maine – finally – giving official recognition to the man believed to be the first Native American to play major league ball.

Yesterday, the Penobscot tribe honored both Louis Sockalexis, who played for Cleveland Spiders in 1897, and his cousin, Andrew, who placed fourth in the marathon in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Louis could throw a baseball across the Penobscot River; Andrew trained in the winter on that same frozen river, running with spikes on his shoes, according to this Boston Globe story. The Maine Legislature honored the two last month.

But Penobscot leaders say the National Baseball Hall of Fame still won’t acknowledge Louis Sockalexis as the first Native player in the majors, and Sports Illustrated omitted the cousins from its 1999 list of 50 greatest Maine athletes. The Globe reports that the Hall of Fame plans no changes, and that Sports Illustrated calls its list “very subjective,” and says it’ll consider the cousins for future lists. The story also talks about the controversy over the Penobscot request that the Cleveland Indians stop using the mascot Chief Wahoo.

Meanwhile, honoring the Sockalexis cousins is nothing new for the Penobscot. They just wish the rest of world – especially the sports world – would, too. “It’s all part of honoring our ancestors, and making sure they get the respect they are due,” Chief Kirk Francis tells the Globe.

Wonder how long that’ll take?

Gwen Florio

Through the wonders of the Intra-Web comes this Bangkok Post story about the Haudenosaunee team that competed in the women’s lacrosse World Cup in Prague, which was won Saturday by six-time champion Team USA.

The team, which will celebrate its first birthday in August, isn’t as well known as its men’s counterpart, the Iroqois Nationals, which has played at four World Cups. But it sounds like that won’t be the case for long.

“We have recognized ourselves as a sovereign nation – we have never been conquered, we have never been defeated,” said Kathy Smith, chairwoman of the Haudenosaunee Nation Women’s Lacrosse Board.

After first gaining permission from the tribes, the Haudenosaunee team joined the International Federation of Women’s Lacrosse last year as that group’s 11th member nation. We’ll be cheering them on in the next World Cup competition.

Gwen Florio