Native Village Youth and Education News
November, 2009   Volume 2

Salazar Launches Partnership with All-American Rhodes Scholar
Myron Rolle for Innovative Health Program at Indian Schools
Condensed by Native Village

Washington, D.C. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and the Myron Rolle Foundation have introduced Our Way to Health. Our Way to Health is a  new physical fitness and health program for BIA American Indian schools.

“Our objective in this initiative is to inspire American Indian and Native Alaskan students to live healthier lifestyles through exercise, outdoor activity, and proper nutrition,” Secretary Salazar said. “The program developed by the Myron Rolle Foundation will celebrate the uniqueness of their heritage and identity in curriculum, develop trust amongst peers, train leaders and involve the community to ensure their needs are met.”

Our Way to Health provides incentive-based learning experiences, team-building physical activities in the outdoors, health education and diabetes awareness sessions. Rolle developed the curriculum for American Indian fifth-graders  in Okeechobee, Florida, when he worked with the Seminole Tribe.

Initially, Interior will expand the Our Way to Health program to five Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools in New Mexico and Arizona beginning in the fall of 2009.

1) San Felipe Pueblo Elementary School (San Felipe Pueblo, New Mexico)
2) Isleta Elementary School (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
3) Hotevilla Bacavi Community School (Hotevilla, Arizona)
4) Tuba City Boarding School (Tuba City, Arizona)
5) Keams Canyon Elementary School (Kearns Canyon, Arizona)

“I am inspired by the way American Indian tribes have persevered and thrived, while retaining their cultural heritage and identity,” said Myron Rolle, a college All American and Rhodes Scholar. “There are, however, significant health concerns that challenge this population -- in particular diabetes and obesity. Through the Our Way to Health Program, our goal is to encourage and help American Indian children in middle school to begin managing not only their own diet and exercise but, hopefully by extension, influence the adults in their lives to also begin adopting healthy life style changes.”

The Bureau of Indian Education serves 42,000 students in 183 schools and dormitories on 64 reservations in 23 states.

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