Showing posts from October, 2011

Wise Up: Ways to keep your brain in shape for a lifetime

A version of this article was published in Yoga Journal in August 2010.

As the years go by and you mature, your mind continues to grow and change in positive ways. That may surprise you, because much media attention has been on what can go wrong with the brain over time, says Luigi Ferrucci, M.D., Ph.D., director of the National Institute on Aging’s Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (BLSA), the longest-running research of its kind.
But meanwhile, he points out, most people won’t ever fight dread diseases of the mind, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, but will simply continue to support their mellowing brains. In fact, you have plenty to look forward to, as your grey matter continually makes up for — and even improves on — youthful abilities.
That’s because the body has an intrinsic ability to compensate for losses, says Ferrucci. “While certain parts of the brain shrink as we age, other often-adjacent areas grow. As a result, you may lose some vocabulary or have a less-perfect memo…

Lost children’s annual memorial march: Event called for reform of Iowa’s parental-rights laws

Published in Indian Country Today in November 2010.

Restoration of parental rights was the theme of the Eighth Annual Memorial March to Honor Our Lost Children, organized each year for the day before Thanksgiving by Four Directions Community Center, a Sioux City nonprofit. In preparing for the event, the group’s executive director, Frank LaMere, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, encouraged participation by Native people who have had children taken from them by the Iowa child-welfare system or because of involvement with the courts.
About 200 responded to his call over the course of November 24, a blustery day with freezing rain that made the start of the march — across the Missouri River bridge that connects South Sioux City, Nebraska, with Sioux City, Iowa — a challenge for young and old. “We cross the bridge because many of Iowa’s Native people came here from Nebraska in search of a better life,” explained Four Directions program director Judy Yellowbank, Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. “Ins…

Alaska Native Corporations tackle criticism: An interview with Aaron Schutt, chief operations officer of Doyon, Limited

Published in Indian Country Today in December 2010.

Three of the 13 regional Alaska Native Corporations got together two years ago to propose improvements to ANC participation in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) federal sole-source contracting program, said Aaron M. Schutt, Athabaskan, senior vice president and chief operating officer of one of the firms, Doyon, Limited. Joining Doyon were Cook Inlet Region, Inc., and Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. The contracting program has now come under fire, with Senator Claire McCaskill (D.-Missouri) submitting legislation that would limit the size of contracts ANCs receive to those allowed individual small businesses.
The reform coalition had suggested the changes to prevent just such attacks, said Schutt, who is an attorney. “We believe improvements in three areas — increased competition, greater accountability and enforcement of existing rules — will strengthen ANCs’ participation in the program. Had these reforms occurred earlier, …

Changes to the SBA’s 8(a) program: An interview with Lance Morgan

By Stephanie Woodard

Originally published in Indian Country Today in November 2010.
Tribal economies have already been impacted by recent restrictions placed on sole-source federal contracts they obtain through the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program, according to Lance Morgan, chairman of the board of the Native American Contractors Association and CEO of Ho-Chunk, Inc., a successful company owned by the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, of which Morgan is a member. “Contracts Ho-Chunk was negotiating are already in question,” said Morgan.
The 8(a) contracts — for tribally owned firms, Alaska Native Corporations (ANCs) and Native Hawaiian Organizations — make up 1.3% of sole-source federal contracts, mostly originating from the Defense Department. Senate Armed Services Committee member Senator Claire McCaskill (D.-Missouri) supported the initial set of restrictions, via soon-to-be-implemented Section 811 of a defense appropriations bill.
            Now, McCaskill has introduced leg…

Election reflections: Julie Garreau talks about her recent run for the South Dakota Senate

Published in Indian Country Today in November 2010.

Julie Garreau, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe, didn’t win the state senate seat she sought in the last election, but she enjoyed running. “I think I would have been a great representative for District 18, but I learned a lot during the race — about politics, campaigning, getting out the vote, and the Democratic party. I was able to shed light on issues our people are concerned about, including the Indian Child Welfare Act and protecting our sovereignty. In a recent meeting of Democratic candidates to discuss the election, I was frank about what we could have done better.”
In the end, Garreau said, “I’m a better person for the experience.” In fact, she added, laughing, “District 28 lost, but I gained tremendously.”
Canvassing was her favorite part of the process. Outgoing and an optimist by nature, Garreau found going door-to-door a wonderful experience. “I loved meeting people. Children became our little guides in each community. I also n…

Superhero Artist: He looks like a mild-mannered illustrator, but he takes on comic-book monsters and villains

Published in Indian Country Today in October 2010.

Throughout Indian country, people know of Patrick Rolo’s illustrations for the Eagle Books series from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has distributed some 2 million of the children’s books, which help Native kids prevent diabetes by means of proper nutrition, exercise, and traditional beliefs.
But Rolo, Bad River Band of Ojibway, wears other hats as well — including newspaper and magazine illustrator, painter and comic-book artist. He’s been a penciller (the person who draws the figures that’ll be colored in) for comics such as “Mortal Kombat,” “Iron Man” and, most recently, the “All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z.”
Rolo’s first comic was “Nightmares on Elm Street” in 1991. The self-trained artist was 23 and had been submitting his work to comic-book editors and showing his portfolio at comic-book convention talent searches. “I’d been getting rejections for a year and a half, then this job came thro…

New directions for Four Directions Community Center, in Sioux City

Published in Indian Country Today in August 2010.

Already at the center of a web of activity that encompasses much of Woodbury County, Iowa, and the surrounding region, Four Directions Community Center is poised for growth. A new alliance with Siouxland Human Investment Partnerships, a 12-year-old area nonprofit, will develop Four Directions’ capabilities, said SHIP’s director, Jim France.
The center’s building near downtown Sioux City is already bustling with activity. As people arrive — for parenting classes, AA gatherings, Lakota language instruction, domestic violence education, meetings of the policy group Community Initiative for Native Children and Families, a University of Iowa college-awareness program for youth, regular meetings with state officials, community gatherings, including wakes and funerals, and much more — the first person they’re likely to encounter is administrative assistant Liz White, Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, who presides over the comings and goings with a gran…

Body and soul: Cultural and spiritual advisor cares for Iowa’s Native inmates

Published in Indian Country Today in September 2010.

I want to give back,” said Tisha Moore, Rosebud Sioux, who had just heard she’d been hired as an addiction technician at a drug-treatment facility. Moore, who has been out of prison for 16 months, has been employed since her release, but her new position is special. Glowing with enthusiasm, she explained that it will allow her to pass on what she learned from Judy Morrison, Cherokee/Osage, Native American cultural and spiritual consultant to Iowa’s department of corrections.
“I got into trouble at boarding school,” Moore said. “But working with Judy at Mitchellville [women’s prison] — doing sweat lodge, talking circle and beading — I cleansed myself and got back to where I was before I went away to school. I saw a better side of me.” Now, Moore said, she can help others develop a sense of self-worth and work on bettering their lives.
Moore had dropped by Four Directions Community Center, in Sioux City, during Morrison’s report to a re…

Listening cure: South Dakota Senate candidate wants to hear voters’ concerns

Published in Indian Country Today in August 2010.

The district candidate Julie Garreau wants to represent in the South Dakota State Senate stretches from the hilly banks of the Missouri River mid-state across rolling prairies, buttes, and pocket “badlands” to South Dakota’s western boundary. Covering more than 13,000 square miles, the rugged terrain of District 28 encompasses ranches, farms, towns, and two large Indian reservations, Cheyenne River and Standing Rock.
            The area’s economic and social problems are just as big and just as rugged, but Garreau, an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe whose name will be on the ballot in November, wants to fix them by listening, rather than by telling people what’s going to happen. “This is not about me. It’s about the people of this district and what they need. We need economic development that helps everyone. We want our farmers and ranchers to prosper. We want our young people to stay here and build families. We have …