Navajo Cancer Symposium: A Student Perspective
My experience at the Navajo Cancer Symposium was positive. I
learned that there could be a lot of disconnect between western medicine and
the views of American Indians and how to treat illness, especially cancer.
Spirituality was mentioned frequently throughout the Navajo Cancer Symposium.
It was nice to be able to hear the commonalities of paying homage to ancestors
in the Navajo culture and being able to compare them to my own (African
American). This symposium was beneficial to those that have recently lost a
loved one or is acting as a caregiver to a loved one with cancer. The panel speakers
were able to speak on their experiences of what it was like having to tell an
elder (often times mom or dad) that they had cancer, sometimes not telling
elders that they were taking chemotherapy treatments, and being provided
hospice care that catered to cultural views (often times not).
Through the Navajo Cancer Symposium I learned that there is not a lot
of support for those that may live in rural areas of the Navajo Reservation.
Cancer can be a financial burden to anyone that may be experiencing it, especially
to those where resources are sparse and cultural views can sometimes prevent
people from receiving treatment. I also
learned that the jurisdiction of the State and Navajo Nation can become
blurred, people needing treatment can fall in between Arizona and Navajo lines,
making it unclear as to which party is responsible for treatment resources. I
felt that some of the doctors that spoke at the symposium presented heavily on
medications and did not speak on their experiences on working with American
Indian people and steps they have taken to be more accommodating to cultural
views. I was able to learn about the physiological effects of medications like
Morphine and what to do to help ease the discomfort sometimes associated with
Attending this symposium was validation for me to continue
with my goals of becoming a public health worker. I learned that it is
important to know the population that I may be working with in the future and
to also get to know the politics behind health and health decisions made. This
symposium has sparked my interest in health policy and what I can do to help
people get the resources that they need, in order to be able to make important
decisions with confidence.
New Investigator Projects
Community Involvement with Contamination of Navajo Lands
Hi, my name is Tommy Rock; I am a member of the Navajo Nation from Monument Valley, Utah. I am of the Salt Clan, born for the Many Goats clan, my maternal grandfather is Bitter Water Clan and my paternal grandfather is Reed People Clan.
There are many environmental
factors that influence public health in Indigenous Communities. One such
environmental factor are abandon uranium mines throughout Navajo Nation which still
affects the people and the land. I hope to be able to
integrate the issue of health, environment, and culture especially uranium
mining into more informed decision making on tribal lands.
The purpose of my project with Center
for American Indian Resilience (CAIR) is to start a dialogue about traditional
Indigenous food contamination and policy development using Navajo Fundamental
Law. I collaborated with the Forgotten
People to accomplish this project. The
Forgotten People are a grassroots organization that focus on social and
environmental justice on the western portion of the Navajo Nation.
The Forgotten People received approval from the trading post owner to
use one of their rooms behind the deli and laundromat as a meeting space.
four meetings took
place there. We distributed flyers to
notify the community of our meetings and even had one community member going
door to door. Lunch and snacks were
provided by myself, Tommy Rock.
Our meetings consist of the
community members of Cameron, Arizona.
Our first meeting was in December, community members were not present
possibly due to the Christmas shopping season and the Western Agency meeting in
Flagstaff. The next three meetings went
better with improved attendance and participation from the community
members. They had a great discussion in
each of the last three meetings.
Our last meeting took place with a tour at Dr. Jani Ingram’s lab at
Northern Arizona University (NAU).
Resilience & Culture Through Sports
June 10, 2015
Halito, my name is Alisse Ali-Joseph and I am a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. My project is Resilience
and Culture through Sport and it was a day-long program to promote
health and culture, and focused on how sport fosters resilience. The purpose
was to provide American Indian youth the opportunity to participate in sport as
a cultural strength, as well as engage with Native American collegiate
athletes, coaches and students. We had
30 youth from fourth grade to high school participate. A highlight from Resilience and Culture through Sport, was a talk by NAU football
head coach Jerome Souers. Coach Souers
is the only Native American Division I football coach in the NCAA. Additional highlights include participating
in a tennis clinic hosted by the United States Tennis Association (USTA),
running with Hopi High School cross country coach and former NAU All-American
Juwan Nuvayokva, watching the Spring Football game, and meeting the NAU men’s
Since sport has long provided a means for people to exercise
sovereignty, identity and balance, both individually and collectively, this
program served as a platform upon which participants exercise resilience. Our
hope is to instill the passion for sport by introducing American Indian youth
to the power of movement. By exposing youth to a college campus, introducing
them to Native American role models and allowing a safe space to exert energy,
our goal is to ignite a spark that will guide American Indian youth to set
goals and reach their dreams. We believe that sport has the potential to raise
a generation of leaders.
Hopi Disability Conference
Hi, My name is Darold H. Joseph, I am Coyote Clan from the Hopi Village of Moenkopi. My project has given me the opportunity to have witnessed the ability of people with disabilities to practice resilience. In
March 2015, I facilitated a digital story training workshop in collaboration
with the Hopi Health and Human Services Department and the Office of Hopi
Special Needs. The purpose of this workshop was to support individuals with
disabilities create and tell their stories of resilience. The following are the
personal stories of resilience of four amazing individuals with disabilities
and their families who at times have struggled but found the resilience to
continue on. Our hope is that their
stories will speak to a broad audience to educate our society about the assets
these individuals possess that included the intersection of culture, community,
education, disability, and identity.
Navajo Nation Vice President encouraged by Navajo Medicaid Feasibility Report
Read the article and report here.
Has:san Preparatory Student News