Local Briefs
Nurse publishes first nursing textbook on American Indian health
Thursday, December 03 2015
Written by By Marcene Robinson,
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American Indian Health and Nursing
By Margaret P. Moss PhD, JD, RN, FAAN
402 pages
Springer Publishing Company
December 15, 2015

american_indian_health_and_nursing.jpgAmerican Indians have the highest suicide rate for teens, the highest prevalence of diabetes and one of the lowest life expectancies in the United States.
Yet despite these alarming statistics, gathered from data from the Indian Health Service, never before has a nursing textbook focused exclusively on the health care needs of the country’s 5 million American Indians.

This realization inspired Margaret Moss, PhD, JD, assistant dean of diversity and inclusion in the University at Buffalo School of Nursing in Buffalo, NY, to publish “American Indian Health and Nursing,” the nation’s first nursing textbook tailored to perhaps the least understood minority population in the U.S.

Along with 12 contributing authors – nine of whom are American Indian nurses – Moss (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation) guides readers through nine distinct Native cultures. In the book, she describes how disparities in health care policy, along with the environmental, historical and geographical fabric of American Indian society, are responsible for the group’s lack of well-being.

“This book was written to answer the disturbing lack of information and understanding of the most underrepresented group in America – as patients, health professionals and in academia,” says Moss, also an associate professor of nursing.

“American Indians have monumental health and health care challenges that differ even throughout Indian country. Yet, they share the same fundamental belief that nursing holds – that of the holistic person in health.”

The textbook, published by Springer Publishing Company, is available for pre-order until Dec. 15 through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the Springer Publishing website.
To provide a holistic view of health, the textbook examines health from four domains: spiritually, mentally, psychically and emotionally.

Because American Indian culture varies by region, Moss delves into the issues affecting each group to create awareness among nurses and other health care professionals of the barriers affecting American Indian health and problems surrounding nursing education.

Geography, for example, prohibits many American Indians who live in rural areas or on reservations from receiving adequate health care, she says. Since these areas are isolated, finding transportation to a grocery store or hospital can be difficult.

Couple that lack of trust in the government and federal policy due to historical trauma, a low high school graduation rate and even lower college graduation rate, and health care issues begin to manifest, says Moss.

The average life expectancy for males born today on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota is less than 50 years old, the lowest in the Western Hemisphere, she adds.

And on some reservations, Native women are murdered at 10 times the national rate, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, largely because of location and laws preventing tribal police from prosecuting non-Natives.

The lack of American Indian nurses creates yet another barrier. Less than 1 percent of nurses are Natives, says Moss, explaining the cultural tie could lead to greater trust and understanding between the patient and care provider.

Since 78 percent of American Indians don’t live on reservations and more than half live in urban areas, according to U.S. Census data, there is a greater likelihood that this population will receive care from non-Native nurses, she adds.

These barriers, Moss says, lead to physical and mental health issues, including depression.

“American Indians are across the board the poorest people in America; it just never reaches the media,” she says.

“Poverty, isolation and overwhelming historical trauma all weigh on you and feed into how you react. We took a wider view of health to understand why this population has such poor health outcomes.”

Moss has published more than 15 studies on health disparities, and health policy and aging in American Indians. In her role with the UB School of Nursing, she works to improve access for underrepresented minorities; establish a pipeline of diverse faculty, staff and students; and identify gaps in school diversity-related policies and procedures.

Prior to UB, she was an associate professor and the first director of the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Yale University School of Nursing.

In 2014, Moss was named a Fulbright visiting research chair in Aboriginal/indigenous life and culture in the North American context at McGill University. 
Her degrees include a doctorate in nursing from the University of Texas, Houston; a JD from Hamline University; a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Phoenix; and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Washington State University.

Fred Armel
Thursday, December 03 2015
Written by Catherine,
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Fred Armellobit_fred_armel_web.jpg
June 13, 1948 - November 4, 2015

Fred Armell, of the Ho-Chunk Nation, was born in Winnebago, Nebraska and spent most of his life in Minnesota. Fred was a well-known artist; his paintings and drawings were always of a spiritual nature. He was a long-distance runner and took part in countless spiritual runs and walks, including the 1992 Peace and Dignity Journey.

Fred was a sun-dancer at Pipestone for many years. In the Twin Cities he volunteered serving free meals at the American Indian Center and helped with a gardening program in the Little Earth Community.
Fred bonded with people from all walks of life. He is survived by his son, Joaquin Armell, his sisters, Kay Jensen and Patty Armell and many other relatives.

William Roy St. John
Thursday, December 03 2015
Written by Catherine,
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William Roy St. John
January 8, 1968 - November 15, 2015.
obit_william_st_john.jpgWilliam Roy St. John, age 47, formerly of Sisseton, South Dakota Journeyed to the Spirit World on Sunday, November 15, 2015. He was born on January 8, 1968 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, the son of William LaCroix and Patricia St. John. He is survived by a son: Anthony Philbrick; a grandchild: Wakan Philbrick; a brother: Richard Byington and by a sister: Netnuqua Martin; Nieces and nephews; other relatives and lots of friends. He is preceded in death by his mother Patricia St. John Renner, and father William LaCroix, brother Mark Byington.

William enjoyed to do artwork like pencil drawing, portraits, and paintings, playing basketball, watching football and basketball. He enjoyed eating at Pizza Hut. He also enjoy spending time with his son Anthony St. John Philbrick. William loved his family, he was very caring and loving to everyone he met!

Funeral services for William Roy St. John was held on November 23rd at The Community Center in Old Agency Village, South Dakota. A Wake was held on November 21 and an all night wake was held on November 22nd at The Community Center in Old Agency Village, South Dakota. Interment was at St. Matthew’s Cemetery in Veblen, South Dakota.  

Honorary Casket Bearers: Chaske St. John, Kyle St. John, Dylan DeMarrias, Isaiah Dragswolf and Sequoyah St. John Casket Bearers: Richard St. John, Juilo Casarez, Carlos Casarez, Jeffery Moreno, Edward St. John and Fred Ducheneaux.

The Chilson Funeral Home in Winsted, Minnesota is serving the family.  Online condolences may be made to .


Native Artists
Thursday, December 03 2015
Written by Nick Metcalf,
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It is since the dawn of time that we’ve craved our own understanding. For as long as there have been people there has been art. Art is what inspires us. Art helps us grapple with our humanity. It gives us a sense of our smallness in this vast universe. It is through storytelling, writing, drawing, painting, drumming, singing, etc., we express our humanity. Art bellows from our innateness of being.

How has art changed my life?

I began writing during my tumultuous adolescent years. I kept a journal documenting the struggle of being a Native teen growing up on a reservation. I found solace in writing. I was able to rumble about in my mind. I was able to wrestle down demons.

My journal is the place that I explore different ideas. I am able to mimic people that I admire. I am able to be critical of the world around me. I am able to sit in awe. I am able to grapple with pain. I am able to give meaning to what I am feeling.

Writing continues to give me an opportunity to appreciate the grace of God. It is in these quiet moments that I am able to commune with God. I am able to reconnect myself to the broader universe, and to maintain my perspective on this human experience that I am on.

Now, I write for my kids. I write my stories, my family stories, and advice so that one day when I’m not here, they will be able to read my words. I won’t be very far away from them. I remind my kids to use what they can and leave what you don’t need. One day, your children may need it or their children may need it. I write so that they know that I think about them now. I dream of them. I long for them. I want to reach across the chasm of time and space to comfort them. I don’t want them to cower from the light. I want them to be bold. I want them to be brilliant. I want them to be everything I know they are capable of being. It is from here, in this time and this place, that I see them and I dream of them. And, I love them.
If I could wish anything for anyone is to do something creative. At first, you may feel insecure and doubtful about your ability, but continue past it. Try different mediums of art that you want. You will succeed at some and you will fail at others, but keep trying to find what feels right. Do this art for yourself, not anyone. Do it for your own mental health, spiritual health, physical health, which in turn will be overall health. As you ignite this spirit of creativity, you will find yourself appreciating life more fully. You will breathe deeper and the hues of the world will be more brilliant. You will experience life to the fullest.

Remember, your art is for you. If you choose to share it with others, do so with full thoughts that they may not like it, but it is not their job to. There is a vulnerability to showing your work. Take your time doing this.

Be careful who you show your early, unsophisticated work to because they may do more harm than good. This may be unintentionally, but it may be intentional because they are see that you are changing and they want you are unfamiliar to them. You art is for you.

You will find that people who have similar interests will be drawn to you and you will find that you crave being in those places that they are. You will want to understand more fully the depth, breadth, and the fullness of what your art is capable of. Go with it. Look at it with a wide eyed wonder. Take a childish wonder about it. Have fun. Experience joy with it.

Don’t burden your art with the responsibility of being a source of income. That may, or may not, come in time. Build a body of work that you can look back upon. Try different aspects of your art. Mimic others until you feel confident or capable of doing what is distinctly you. This is all about you, not anyone else.

You will find that people will be inspired by what you are doing. Don’t live your life in regret. Use art to be able to unleash the possibility of you. You’ll be amazed and be impressed by what you discover. You are pretty amazing…

It was through writing, art, that I was taught about being alive. It gave me an emotional language. It gave me an imagination. It gave me inspiration.

Art heals. Art if given the effort has the ability to heal and transform.

Mining and the Indian bands
Thursday, December 03 2015
Written by Mordecai Specktor,
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The public has been invited to comment on the final environmental impact statement (EIS) on the proposed PolyMet copper-nickel mine south of Babbit, in northeastern Minnesota.
The report, which can be downloaded from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources website is fairly huge – 263 MB, 3,576 pages; the chapter on environmental consequences from what is known officially as the NorthMet Mining Project and Land Exchange is 812 pages. There also is a 60-page executive summary available.
The summary document features some fairly impenetrable technical language; and the Minnesota Ojibwe bands that were designated as “cooperating agencies” in the environmental review process, which has been rolling along for the past 11 years, were mainly shut out of the NorthMet Final EIS, according to Nancy Schuldt, water protection coordinator for the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.

Fond du Lac, along with the Bois Forte and Grand Portage bands, has been involved in the NorthMet mining project review, since the mine area and land exchange parcels are located within the 1854 Treaty Ceded Territory. The Ojibwe bands ceded these lands to the U.S. government in the 19th century, but reserved hunting, fishing and gathering rights. The Ojibwe bands have a federally-recognized interest in maintaining the health of the land and water for the survival of their future generations. Generally, the Indian bands have been concerned that sulfide mining, a new industry proposed for Minnesota, poses a serious environmental threat. The pollution of wild rice waters is just one of the possible adverse consequences from mining.

Getting back to the NorthMet Mining Project Final EIS, Nancy Schuldt told me that “there aren’t going to be any public hearings, and at this point we don’t apparently have any more public standing than the general public.”

Schuldt pointed out that there have been additional tribal scientific analyses done to support “our positions of dissent about what’s been presented for this project, and the co-lead agencies declined to include those in the [Final] EIS.” She added that both the Draft EIS, in 2009, and the Supplemental Draft EIS, in 2013, included footnotes and appendices detailing the tribal research – “supporting information” – and “major differences of opinion.”

However, the co-lead agencies responsible for the NorthMet Final EIS – the Minnesota DNR, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Forest Service – “didn’t allow us to elaborate and add any new information or supporting evidence, or even present our perspective on whether those major differences of opinion still remained, or were there some more… which there are,” said Schuldt.

She said that the only nod to the Ojibwe bands, the so-called “cooperating agencies,” was allowing them to see the preliminary version of the Final EIS this past summer.
After the Minnesota DNR approves the EIS adequacy for the NorthMet project, the operators still have to obtain a variety of permits before they can start digging for ore. The U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers also have to issue decisions on the project.

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton, who has professed a neutral position on the proposed copper-nickel mine, recently toured what was characterized as a bad mine, the Gilt Edge gold mine in South Dakota’s Black Hills, which is now a Superfund site, and a good mine, the Eagle Mine, an underground copper-nickel mine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Nancy Schuldt mentioned that Keweenaw Bay Indian Community officials wanted to meet with Dayton when he visited the UP, but the governor did not take the meeting.

“Subsequently, [Dayton] had his commissioners, the DNR and MPCA commissioners, and his mining liaison… he had them conference with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community to talk about the tribe’s experience with that mine.”

After the consultation with the Keweenaw Bay leaders, according to Schuldt, the Michigan tribe sent a message back to Gov. Dayton and his commissioners suggesting that they also reach out to the tribal cooperating agencies with the PolyMet project.

Dayton has expressed his view that PolyMet Mining must provide adequate financial assurance to cover reclamation costs before a Permit to Mine is issued. And in November, Dayton discussed the need for the state Health Department to conduct a review of health risks from the proposed NorthMet project.

Perhaps Gov. Dayton also should invite concerned officials from Fond du Lac, Bois Forte and Grand Portage to a meeting in St. Paul.

“We are a constituency of the governor’s that he has completely declined to engage with over this project,” said Schuldt, regarding the Indian bands that are being sidelined as the PolyMet project gains traction.

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