FNCI to Host KFAI Radio Show
Saturday, March 12 2011
Written by Circle nEWS Staff,
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Jewell Arcoren and Lisa Yankton of First Nations Composure Initiative (FNCI) will host the "Winyan Downapi" radio show March 8th from 3:00  - 4:00 pm which will feature 10-14 American Indian Women from across the nation. The program will showcase the breadth and depth of genre, composition and singing from Native women. First Nations Composer initiative is a program of American Composers Forum. For a listing of March 8 shows, go to:

Kelly Drummer new director of Tiwahe Foundation development and programs
Saturday, March 12 2011
Written by Circle News Staff,
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 whats new in the communtiy kelly drummer Kelly Drummer has been hired as director of development and programs for the The Tiwahe Foundation (previously known as the American Indian Family Empowerment Program).  
"Kelly has a great track record as an effective fund raiser," says LaVon Lee, program officer at the Grotto Foundation and Tiwahe Foundation administrator. "She will play a key role in helping us complete our $6 million endowment campaign. We also want to build on our reputation as a resource for donors who value Native American perspectives and as a resource for Native American leadership development."
Throughout its history, AIFEP promoted leadership development and American Indian self- determination by supporting families and individuals striving to reach their potential through education, economic self-sufficiency, service to community, and cultural connections - a tradition Tiwahe Foundation board members are continuing. More information is available at
Youth Art exhibit to debut on Pow Wow Grounds coffee shop
Saturday, March 12 2011
Written by Circle News Staff,
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 youth art showYouth from Waubun and Mahnomen Schools (6th-8th graders) in Mahnomen, MN. who took part in the Nature of Technology Camp last summer will be the first to have their photographs displayed on the new youth art wall at the Pow Wow Grounds coffee shop in Minneapolis.
Some of those photographs that will be part of the exhibit won the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge Nature Photo contest in 2010.
The youth art exhibit will be on display at the Pow Wow Grounds at Franklin Ave during the coffee shop hours. The wall is being reserved for Native youth artwork and the new exhibit is scheduled to go up March 4 and remain on display through the end of March. The wall space is part of the All My Relations Gallery exhibit space which is owned and operated by NACDI. The advisory board of the ARM Gallery is looking for other Native youth artwork to consider for future exhibits.
MAICíS Senior Department helps homeless elders
Saturday, March 12 2011
Written by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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maic seniors depart story janet statleyHomelessness is one of the enduring problems of metropolitan life, and Minneapolis is no exception. While the city of Minneapolis and local organizations help everyone, no matter what race, gender, or nationality they are, one particularly painful truth is that Native American Elders are sometimes forced to live on the streets.
Janet Stately, The program director in the Senior Department of the American Indian Center (MAIC), deals with homeless Elders every day.
"One of the problems facing our Elders is the fact that in our culture there is a lot of extended family to take care of," Stately said. "Many of the high rises in the area do not allow multiple kids to live in the one or two bedroom apartments they offer. What that does is it essentially excludes grandfathers who are taking care of many grandchildren. They've taken in family members, and they're not going to put their family out in the street."
"Maybe they've had to move for some reason or another. If it's not subsidized housing, maybe another barrier is first month's rent. Sometimes they just don't have the money to keep going."
New American Indian Cancer Foundation SEEKS TO END CANCER DISPARITIES
Friday, February 11 2011
Written by Jacob Croonenberghs,
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new americna indian cancer foundationAmong Native Americans, cancer is the leading cause of death, according to the Indian Health Service (IHS). Studies show that Native Americans are more likely to suffer certain types of cancers, like lung or colorectal cancer.
What is more alarming to many inside the health care field is the lack of resources available to Native communities to detect and prevent forms of cancer that Natives are more at-risk of being diagnosed with.
To curb this, The American Indian Cancer Foundation (AMICAF) was established in 2009 by Natives with a diverse set of expertise and experience. The problems of underfunded health programs coupled with barriers to cancer screening led AMICAF to visualize programs that are culturally sensitive and specific to the forms of cancer most dangerous to Natives.
After bidding for a large IHS funded project aimed at better understanding colorectal cancer, and with a grant from the American Cancer Society, AMICAF was able to move from the drawing board to a functioning non-profit.
The focus of the group at the moment is on colorectal cancer. Colorectal cancer is the second most deadly cancer for Natives. It is a form of cancer that sees much higher rates in Natives living in the Northern Plains (72.5 per 100,000) than whites (52.3 per 100,000).
Dr. David Perdue (Chickasaw) is the AMICAF medical director. He splits his time between clinical practice and AMICAF, and is the person responsible for the grant writing that funds the foundation. Kris Rhodes (Fond du Lac Ojibwe), was just hired to head the new organization as the Executive Director.
As the how the non-profit came about, Rhodes said, "Dr. David Perdue, along with Jackie Dionne from Turtle Mountain, organized the board of directors in 2009. They did the groundwork to create this non-profit organization. AMICAF was designed to combat cancer in Native Americans and to educate others about the health disparities that exist for Native American peoples."
Currently located in the IDS tower in downtown Minneapolis, each member of new AMICAF team works to help achieve the goals of the foundation.
Joy Rivera (Haudenosanunee) is the Community Health Worker for AMICAF. She is the essential link between the community and the program, bridging the gap between potential patients and health care services.
"I work with the community, whether one-on-one or in a group setting. I sit at health fairs and pull the people in, educate them on the issue and hopefully get some of our people to get a screening. We want them to make appointments and follow through with screening. Sometimes we have to start from scratch; people don't even want to talk about colonoscopies," said Rivera.
Anne Walaszek (White Earth Ojibwe), as Research Associate, gathers information from tribes and states, and creates surveys to help AMICAF look at the big picture.
Walaszek said, "I work with programs in Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Minnesota. A piece of the project is doing assessments of other facilities; through either the IHS or Urban Development programs. What the population needs first is the health care service, then we can look to see about education; what resources are available, and if the facilities and their condition are acceptable. The second piece is actually the colonoscopies, and how many happen in each region."
The procedures for preventing colorectal cancers are surprisingly simple; there are endoscopies and stool tests, though a colonoscopy once every 10 years is considered the "Gold Standard" in preventing colorectal cancer as it allows the removal of precancerous polyps.
"We know that polyps are slow growing and slow to turn into cancer," Rivera continues, "even if you get a polyp a year after your last colonoscopy, you're not in danger until it's time for your next one. They don't develop into full cancer by then; it takes these polyps a lot of time."
Rhodes said there are problems to providing the health care,"To get a colonoscopy when you're living in a rural area, you have to drive to a location that is able to provide the service, and you don't want to be travelling too far the day before the procedure because of medical preparations."
The organization's dream is for mobile endoscopy. A self-contained semi-truck trailer with procedure rooms equipped with all of the equipment needed to perform colonoscopies that would travel from reservation to reservation providing screening exams.
Since Native Americans are more at-risk for colorectal cancer, the staff at AMICAF advise getting your first screening younger. Rivera said, "Due to the high risk of colon cancer at younger ages in Natives we are now recommending screening start at age 45 instead of 50."
Though the team is currently focusing on colorectal cancer, AMICAF is not limiting itself to one form of cancer prevention. "Lung cancer is the number one killer in the Northern Plains", said Rhodes. "That's very bad. In the future we will be focusing on this and other forms of cancer to help bring the mortality rate down. We're focusing on colorectal cancer right now, but we expect to grow and deal with these other disparities in cancer treatment as well."
AMICAF has laid out a roadmap for the next 10 years. One of their new programs (that is currently in the planning process) called The Only For Tradition Smoking Cessation Program would help Native American smokers kick the habit. The AMICAF staff say they believe that by tailoring the program to preserve the sacredness of tobacco, while at the same time helping Natives to quit commercial tobacco use, the program will significantly drop the lung cancer mortality rate.
There will be other programs as well. AMICAF's goals by 2020 involve more culturally sensitive health-care services that reach out and educate Native both young and old.  Some of the programs that AMICAF hopes to work on include the expansion of Wisdom Steps to other states, a successful Minnesota program that teaches Native elders to live a heart-healthy lifestyle, and The Spider Illness program, a curriculum that will educate 10,000 Native high school students a year about cancer risk and prevention.
"I think we have tremendous challenges and opportunity ahead of us," says Rhodes. "AMICAF will be working to better understand the disparities that exist around cancer for American Indian communities and come up with solutions to end the disparities. Disparities aren't only in the number of Native people who are getting cancer, but it's also an issue to access to health care, both prevention and treatment."
Rhodes hopes to one day make access to cutting edge health care available to anyone who needs it.
AMICAF is located on the 8th floor of the IDS center, suite 800, 80 south Eighth street. However, AMICAF plans to eventually move closer to Franklin Avenue. "We want to eventually be in the heart of the community. It is important to us," Rivera says.
If you are interested in screenings for colorectal cancer, don't know if you have been screened before, or are just curious, AMICAF encourages you to give them a call. Also, there are free screenings available for Native Americans unable to afford a colonoscopy through the Minnesota Department of Health SAGE Scopes program. To find out more call Joy Rivera at 612-202-0588, or: This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it
"Dakota 38" documetary remembers the 38 Dakota executed in 1862
Friday, February 11 2011
Written by Mark Steil Minnesota Public Radio News,
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dakota 38 documentaryThe largest mass execution in U.S. history occurred 148 years ago, when 38 Dakota warriors were hanged from a single scaffold in Mankato.
 The shock waves of that mass execution still reverberate today among the Dakota people. A new documentary film remembers the 38, and also a group of Dakota who ride on horseback each year at this time to Mankato to commemorate the executions of Dec. 26, 1862.
 The U.S.-Dakota War played out along several all too familiar themes of U.S. history: broken treaties and unfulfilled promises. The war started in August of 1862 and when it was over six weeks later, hundreds of Indians, settlers and soldiers were dead along the Minnesota River valley.
 Filmmaker Silas Hagerty said his introduction to the war came five years ago. At a traditional sweat lodge ceremony, an Indian spiritual leader told Haggerty about his dream.
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