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Regional & Local Briefs


Group wants more Indian teachers on reservations
Friday, October 15 2010
 
Written by Tom Robertson,
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About 100 of the nation’s best recent college graduates in fields such as law and business will be teaching this fall at schools on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud Indian reservations.
But only a few of Teach For America’s short-term teachers will look like the students in their classrooms. The organization hopes to change that with new movement to serve more Native American students and recruit more of them to teach.
“When a student is able to see a bit of themselves in the teacher ... it’s just a different level of connection,” senior recruitment director Patrick Herrel said.
Teach For America is in its seventh year in South Dakota. The organization recruits high-achieving college graduates from fields outside of education to teach in a high-needs area. Some remain in education, but most leave after their two years are up.
The 2010-11 school year marks the beginning of TFA’s Native American Initiative. By 2015, the group aims to increase the number of Native students served each year from 11,000 to 56,000. Officials say corps members who teach on reservations leave as advocates who understand the challenges those children face.
At the same time, recruiters are building relationships with tribal officials, college faculty and professional organizations in hopes of drawing more Native American graduates into TFA.
Nationwide, TFA will place 24 new Native American teachers next year, nearly double last year’s number. But only three of those 24 decided to teach at a reservation school - two in New Mexico and one in South Dakota at St. Francis Indian School.
Herrel said that because TFA recruits nationally, they’ll find college students who grew up on an Oklahoma reservation and feel no connection with particular tribes in other states. Still, TFA officials would like to see more Native teachers choosing reservation schools.
Catherine Pozniak, TFA South Dakota’s executive director, said it can be inspiring for reservation students to sit in a classroom with a TFA teacher who also is Native American.
“Teachers who share an identity with their students can be very positive role models for what’s possible for them,” she said.
With the help of a grant, the University of South Dakota is working toward that same end by offering scholarships to minority students who want to become career teachers.
Todd County Schools Superintendent Margo Heinert said TFA provides good teachers but she prefers to hire locals looking to start a career.
She first looks to area tribal colleges when hiring because those teachers tend to stay longer. She then recruits at job fairs before looking to TFA to fill open teaching positions. Todd County will have six new TFA staff next year, down from 15 last year.
Despite giving priority to graduates of schools such as Sinte Gleska University, Heinert said Todd County’s teaching staff is only about 25 percent to 30 percent Native American. She likes the idea of TFA be bringing more Native teachers to her district.
“It would be great,” she said.

Minnesota  Public Radio News can be heard on MPR’s statewide radio network or online.
CDC and IHS urge Indian parents to protect preteens with vaccines
Friday, October 15 2010
 
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is partnering with the Indian Health Service to launch a campaign informing American Indian and Alaska Native parents and other caregivers about the importance of a preteen medical check-up and preteen vaccines.        
Research shows that preteens generally do not get preventive health care, visiting the doctor only when they are sick. One goal of this campaign is to encourage parents to take their preteens in for an 11- or  12-year-old check-up, which is a comprehensive, preventive health exam.  
During the check-up, the  doctor takes a complete medical history, screens for diseases like diabetes, discusses puberty and other issues such as how to stay healthy and avoid substance abuse, and ensures that immunizations are up to  date.     
“Many parents may not be aware that there are vaccines that preteens need to protect them against  potentially serious diseases, including meningitis, pertussis, influenza, and the virus that causes  cervical cancer,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of CDC’s National Center for Immunization and  Respiratory Diseases. “Vaccinations play an important role in protecting your child’s health. But they  do more than protect children. By ensuring you and your family receive recommended vaccines, you  help to prevent the spread of disease and protect the health of the community.”    
Three vaccines are specifically recommended for the preteen years: MCV4, which prevents some types  of meningitis and its complications; Tdap, which is a booster against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis  or “whooping cough;” and for girls, the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against the types of HPV that most commonly cause cervical cancer.  Annual seasonal flu shots and vaccination against H1N1 influenza are also recommended for preteens, just as they are for younger children starting at age 6 months, and for older children, through age 18.    
Preteen vaccine recommendations are supported by the CDC, IHS, the American Academy of  Pediatrics, the American Academy of Family Physicians, and the Society for Adolescent Medicine.
“There is a common perception that check-ups are only for infants, but this isn’t true,” said Dr.  Michael Bartholomew, a member of the Kiowa Tribe and chief of pediatrics at the Fort Defiance Indian Hospital in Arizona. “Eleven- and 12-year-olds also need a check-up to ensure that they stay  healthy as they enter their adolescent years.”        
CDC and IHS have developed posters and flyers to educate parents about the preteen check-up and preteen vaccines, which can be ordered or downloaded from the campaign website. The materials were created with input from American Indian  and Alaska Native parents in the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest. For more information about the campaign, please visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/preteen/aian.
Recommended Vaccines for 11/12-Year-Olds
Friday, October 15 2010
 
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1. Tdap Vaccine: Fights Whooping Cough (Pertussis) plus Tetanus and Diphtheria
The Tdap vaccine protects again tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis. The childhood DTaP vaccine also protects against these diseases, but it wears off over time, so a booster is recommended at ages 11 or 12.  
Pertussis (whooping cough) causes coughing fits that can be so severe that they disrupt normal life. It is easily transmitted by coughing or sneezing. Infants are more likely to be hospitalized and die if they get pertussis. Pertussis often goes unrecognized by health providers, creating a misperception that it is not a problem.  

2. The Meningococcal Vaccine: Fights Bacterial Meningitis
The meningococcal vaccine protects against meningococcal disease, which can spread quickly in crowded conditions. Meningococcal disease is a leading cause of bacterial meningitis, which is a serious infection of the protective lining of the brain and the spinal cord. It can also result in serious bloodstream infections or pneumonia.
The result of infection can be devastating. Adolescents die in about 10% of cases, even with antibiotic treatment. About 20% of survivors will have long-term disability, such as loss of a limb, deafness, nervous system problems, or mental retardation.  Meningococcal disease is particularly dangerous because it can progress rapidly and result in death in 48 hours or less.

3)  The HPV Vaccine: Fights Human Papilloma Virus
The HPV vaccine protects against human papilloma virus, which causes cervical cancer and genital warts. HPV is very common – up to 80% of sexually active women will contract HPV during their lifetime. The HPV vaccine protects against 70% of HPV-related cervical cancers and up to 90% of HPV-related cases of genital warts.
HPV is a common virus that is spread through sexual contact. There are many different types of HPV. Some types can cause cervical cancer in women. Other types of HPV can cause genital warts in both males and females. Each year about 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and about 4,000 women die from it in the U.S.  
Native American women have relatively high rates of cervical cancer, which can be prevented by the HPV vaccine. Nationwide, the cervical cancer rate for Native American women is 9.4 per 100,000, compared with 7.4 for non-Hispanic white women.

4)  Flu Shots: Protect Against Seasonal Influenza and 2009 H1N1 Influenza
The flu (influenza) is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that is caused by the influenza virus. The flu spreads from person to person. Most people with flu are sick for about a week, but then feel better. However, some people (especially young children, pregnant women, older people, and people with chronic health problems such as asthma or diabetes) can get very sick and some can die. About 36,000 people die from seasonal influenza each year in the U.S.
2009 H1N1 (sometimes called “swine flu”) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. When the 2009 H1N1 outbreak was first detected in mid-April 2009, CDC began working with states to collect, compile and analyze information regarding the 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak, including the numbers of confirmed and probable cases and the ages of these people. The information analyzed by CDC supports the conclusion that 2009 H1N1 flu has caused greater disease burden in people younger than 25 years of age than older people.

5) Catch Up Vaccines
Preteens should also be caught up on some of the vaccines that are recommended for infants and children, including hepatitis b, measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), polio, and varicella (chickenpox). Preteens who only got one shot against chickenpox should get the second recommended dose.   
 
For more info, visit www.cdc.gov/vaccines/preteen/aian or call (800) CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).
AIM Conference in Minneapolis looks toward the future
Friday, October 15 2010
 
Written by Laura Waterman Wittstock,
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  The American Indian Movement (AIM) gathered in June in Minneapolis to celebrate its 42nd year and to reflect on victories and the challenges still ahead. AIM founder Clyde H. Bellecourt pulled himself around, after undergoing six hours of surgery just days before the conference began. Visibly tired and weakened by the ordeal of combined kidney and gallbladder surgery, he nonetheless led discussions on AIM history and accomplishments to a group of 100 attendees from all over the U.S. and Canada.
A keynote address by Chief Terrence Nelson from Roseau River, Manitoba pointed the way to future AIM involvement in economic reforms and nation building. He said that Roseau River is part of the Pembina Band of Anishinaabe people who in their several bands live in several U.S. states and provinces of Canada. The issues of Anishinaabe people have most involved land, sovereignty, and resources, he said. Yet in 1903 land surrender at Roseau ripped thousands of acres away from the nation.
Nelson said the faulty process the crown used in taking the land. Many years later the Canadian Parliament modified the scope of application of the land management regime in the Indian Act. In 1996, 13 First Nations from British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario entered into a Framework Agreement on Land Management with the Minister of Indian Affairs.
Roseau was among those and it selected lands near Winnipeg, but not within the city limits. The process of selecting land is not yet complete but the economic advantage the nation now holds is vastly different from the struggle to farm the acreage of Anishinaabe lands held in 1903.
Nelson’s message was clear and forceful. AIM needs to enter into the development of wealth through economic projects and international trade. The future of AIM will be given to helping Native people help themselves out of poverty and dependence on public sources for assistance. It may take decades, but the vision needs to be adopted now, he said.
He touched on treaty rights and sovereignty, concluding with the statement that, “we had sovereignty before the treaties, we have sovereignty during the time of these treaties, and we will have sovereignty after the treaties.”
Other presentations at the conference included discussions of the AIM trademark, refinement of the guiding principles, spiritual leader teachings, a youth panel, an education panel and plans for the new Heart of the Earth Interpretive Center in Dinkytown – to open in 2013.
Bellecourt presented a history of AIM and its many activities over the decades. Millions of dollars flow through AIM founded nonprofit organizations each year, he said. He was joined by Jimbo Simmons, from San Francisco AIM, who spoke about work with other cultural groups, the work of the late Vernon Bellecourt, and travel to Libya to bring AIM’s message to the university system of that country.
Rhiana Yazzie’s “Ady” opens at Pangea World Theater
Friday, October 15 2010
 
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A Lee Miller photograph of surrealist artists that includes a dancer from the West Indies, naked to the waist, is the jumping off place for the new play written by local playwright Rhiana Yazzie (Navajo).
Ady relates the mostly unknown story of the surrealist muse Adrienne Fidelin. According to Yazzie, “Ady is the story of a woman that was lost to history. Ady Fidelin was a dancer from the island of Guadeloupe who dated surrealist photographer, Man Ray in the late 1930’s through 1941 when they were eventually separated by WWII. The two of them were surrounded by the great artists of their time including Picasso, Lee Miller, Leonora Carrington, Max Ernst and others. ...Ady’s story was lost in the narratives that made those around her great.”
Pangea commissionned and supported the evolution of “Ady” over the past two years. The play is directed by Resident Director Hayley Finn and designed by the team of Mike Wangen as the lighting designer, Emily Johnson as the choreographer, Pramila Vasudevan as the Media artist, Anton Jones as the Sound Designer, Jesse West as the Set Designer and Carolyn Lee Anderson as the Visula Artist. Ady has also been developed through the New York Public Theater’s New Work Now! and the Playwrights’ Center Ruth Easton Lab.
Finn said of the play, “Combining dance and image, history and imagination ADY is a thought provoking journey across time. I am thrilled to be directing Rhiana Yazzie’s beautiful and unique story and to share it with the Twin Cities community.”
Yazzie is a Navajo playwright originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico. This year Yazzie is a Playwrights’ Center Jerome Fellow for the second time since 2006. She is also a Playwrights’ Center Core Writer and has been jointly commissioned by the Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival and the NY Public Theater to write a play for American Revolutions: the United States History Cycle.
Yazzie ’s plays have been seen on the stages of SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development, Teatro del Pueblo, and Mixed Blood Theatre. She is also an award-winning writer of plays for radio and for youth. Her most recent Theatre for Young Audiences play produced by La Jolla Playhouse, Chile Pod, toured to 17,500 children in Southern California.
Pangea World Theater brings  artists from very diverse backgrounds and ethnicities together to create art for a multiracial audience.
Ady is the final show of the Alternate Visions Festival which runs June 10 –July 25. Ady runs July 9-25. Starting time is 7:30 pm at the Playwrights’ Center, 2301 East Franklin Ave., Minneapolis. General admission is $15. For tickets, visit www.pangeaworltheater.org.
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