Nenana Wellness Coalition
September 27, 2016
The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, celebrate, masticate and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.
We had 23 participants today: Bonnie Reed, Natalie Chong, Tara & Chrystal, Maryellen Robinson, Jeannie Bennett, Harriett Borst, Kat McElroy, David Poppe, Tim Horn, Virginia Young, Miles Martin, Deanna Krause, Maria Santolupo and nine of her students from Nenana City Public School.
We enjoyed pickled beets and roasted pork loin with potatoes, carrots, zucchini and onions, Ritz crackers with sliced cheese, mixed raisins & pecans for lunch.
WELCOME and READING OF MISSION STATEMENT: By this week’s chairperson: Jeannie Bennett.
SPIRITUAL MOMENT: was lead by Bonnie, with a silent meditation.
PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: There were no items added to the agenda.
MINUTES: The minutes generated last week were posted at the WIN link at http://www.railbelt.org or submitted electronically to the WIN e-list.
INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: Maria introduced the students who had performed the community research for this presentation and put together the power point. She identified the roles each had played in the project as it came to fruition.
Emotional Well-Being & Relationships in the Community: Maria Santolupo narrated the power point presentation the students created about their community research project on emotional well-being and relationships in community which these nine students designed and implemented over a short three day period here in Nenana for their psychology class at NCPS. Some of the questions of the survey the created and implemented explored the respondent’s perceptions of what is emotional well-being and others examined relationship and community connectedness.
Maria explained the various elements of the student’s research project and why they implemented it the way they did. One of the things she pointed out was the importance of transcribing responses exactly as provided by the participants, even if they seemed to be tangential or even non-responsive. Some of the responses seemed to indicate the respondents had a strong sense of community support while others seemed to indicate a weaker sense of being connected to others. Another thing she pointed out was that a grammatical error had purposely been inserted into the survey to see who of the respondents would question that aberration.
It was suggested the students should share their presentation at a community pride/village safety meeting as it brings up many opportunities to delve into the dynamics that support emotional well-being and intra-community relations. The students needed to return to school.
WELLNESS THOUGHT: No one likes to be criticized, but criticism can be something like the desert wind that, in whipping the tender stalks, forces them to strike their roots down deeper for security. — Polingaysi Qoyawayma, HOPI
Natalie: Reminded everyone that the next Phlight Club weekend lock-in would be conducted Friday October 14 and Saturday October 15th, at Nenana City Public School, starting with a pizza buffet dinner that Friday at 5 PM. Students in grades 3 and under will need to have adult anchors at a ratio of one to one; students in 4th grade and above will need adult anchors at a ratio of one adult per two students. Natalie encouraged community members to step forward and volunteer or to accept if a student asks them to be an anchor. The Phlight club will conclude after dinner Saturday, around 6 PM.
Maryellen: Dancing in the Streets was very successful. PINK will be going to Anchorage to attend the ATCA conference October 8-9.
October 3-6 marks Pink Week, to foster Breast Cancer awareness.
There will be an I ACT Free meeting October 7th, at Noon.
She will be working in collaboration with the school on Red Ribbon Week activities the week before Halloween. Friday, October 28th we will have Michael George Patterson who will be here again to speak to our youth about the dangers of tobacco use.
Maria: Is happy to report that one of their students expressed interest in attending the Lead On Conference in Anchorage which focuses on Domestic Violence and dating violence. As the result of his interest, we now have seven students in total who have applied to attend this conference. They would each be doing a project afterwards in their home villages to decrease violence. The Nenana Native Council has agreed to donate 1300 dollars towards this goal. The students will hold fundraisers and will solicit their home village councils requesting financial support for this endeavor.
Tim: The Junior Youth Group continues meeting Tuesdays 4-5:30 PM; they are working on signage for the community garden. She and Virginia are also hosting a Spiritual Growth group for youth ages 5-10, that meets at Tim’s house, right after school lets out on Early Release Fridays, 2:15 PM.
A two day exploratory workshop is being offered by the Baha’i Faith (www.baha’i.org) at Fairbanks Community Mental Health October 15 & 16. Registration is $20.00 which includes lunch for both days. Go to https://goo.gl/forms/SPz3ASfub405nMq52 to register. For further information contact Nikki Kinne at (907)388-3235 or Heather Walker at (907)378-4545.
The Nenana Book Club is reading Made In The USA and will meet at 7 PM on Monday, October 3 to discuss this, at Karen Harvey’s.
The annual Hallowe‘en Carnival will be held Monday, October 31, 5-7 PM at the school.
Harriett: She is tired of all the medical stuff but still has to go for pulmonary function testing. She has been following the Standing Rock protests about the DAPL.
David: Still baling hay. His animals are all hungry, all the time. He has arranged to buy Nenana grown barley will reduce his travel time as he has been driving to Delta to buy bulk barley to grind for pig feed. Buying locally supports local industry as well, a bonus. He is bringing his milk cows back into town for the winter.
Bonnie: There will be a Community Safety/Village Pride dinner and community meeting Monday, October 17th, 6:30 PM, at the Tribal Hall.
Kat: Noticed a remark made about “Alcohol destroying all of our villages…” and challenges people to think about the power of words and to re-frame that thought. “Alcohol has had serious negative impacts on our villages, this is true,” she said, “But our villages are not destroyed, they are resilient.” She challenges everyone to examine this narrative that backs a myth in our nation that Indigenous People are all dying, their communities destroyed, etc., which she feels has been fostered in our generation by the so-called War on Drugs. But, those words are adversarial. If we are “at war” with drugs, then addicts become the enemy. As Teisha Simmons said in her address Friday night, addicts are our family members, parents, children, siblings, spouses. “We need to really think about the words we use and the narratives those words support. Our villages are strong. Our people may be struggling at times but we are not destroyed.” Be very aware of the power of the words you use.
Jeannie: Having problems advocating for the medical appointments that Harriett needs. It can be very frustrating at times.
ADJOURNMENT: 2:10 PM