LOS ANGELES, Calif. /Send2Press Newswire/ — “Just as the Iraqi soccer victories at the Athens Olympics lifted their dispirited countrymen, mainstream Americans and the world have a chance to uplift our ‘underserved, heroic American Indian population’ (President GWB), in the wake of the Minnesota reservation tragedy,” said Olympic skier Suzy Chaffee, co-chair of Native Voices Foundation (NVF) and the President’s Healthier US/American Indian Initiative in the Great Outdoors.
Photo Caption: Pride of Indian Country! Yup’ik Eskimo, Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, celebrating with mom, Gloria after winning the Junior Olympic Snowboard Championships in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Two weeks ago, 15 year-old Callan Chythlook-Sifsof, a Yup’ik Eskimo living at Alaska’s Alyeska Ski Resort, brought pride to all America’s 600+ Nations winning the Junior Olympic Snowboard Championships in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Her single mom Gloria, then wrote NVF in hopes they could help her daughter be able to accept her invitation to go to the FIS World Junior Snowboard Championships in Arosa, Switzerland April 2-9. Callan has a chance to win, which could give Indian youth a big lift at this moment.
Until last week, most Americans were not aware of the invisible suicide epidemic, the highest of any race in America that has not improved for 120 years ago. It is from the same hopelessness felt by a high percentage of Indian youth, unhealed from the removals, broken treaties, and abusive government boarding schools. For similar reasons, the Canadian Government apologized to their First Nations, and gave a (meaningful) sizable healing fund, but America has not.
People can also help Indian Youth across America, by chipping in to assist NVF be able to connect the 100 ski areas (with special focus on Red Lake, Minnesota region) who have graciously offered to invite their tribes back to their ancestral lands to ski and snowboard, which would include coaching by the newly formed Native American Ski Team, who are dedicated to helping the youth. “These ski communities were inspired by the tribes helping them with snow, (including Wisconsin’s Berkebeiner Race), and we’re frustrated not having the resources to be able to hook up all these opportunities, and the snow is melting soon,” said Chaffee.
Ben Nighthorse Campbell’s Senate study found that “American Indians are still to depressed to want to get healthy and have the highest unemployment in America.” In 1996, Harvard’s JFK School of Native American Economic Development found that the reservation with the highest employment was the Apaches. Knowing that they had started two ski areas 30 years ago, Chaffee called White Mt Apache Chairman Dallas Massey, to find out if skiing might be the reason. “It had everything to do with skiing,” said the Chairman, “Skiing is the No 1 motivator of our youth (then rodeo), and prevents alcohol abuse if we can reach our children early enough.”
Assistance will also help NVF successfully spearhead Native youth be able to compete in the Olympics as sovereign nations, thanks to the recent support of European leaders (on www.nativevoices.org). “After Jim Thorpe’s medals were illegally removed, most Native Americans have not even dreamed about being able to compete in the Olympics,” said World Cup speedskier Stew Young (Tulalip “Killer Whale” Tribes), a member of the newly formed Native American Ski Team. Besides the government apology, the First Nations have received a $3 million fund from Vancouver’s Olympic Organizing Committee, to train snowboarders across Canada for their 2010 Games.
“This is a pivotal moment to show our First Americans who gave us a hand over and over again, that we care enough to lift their sprits and restore their joy, health, and productivity. They can then partner with mainstream – their wisdom and our power, to ensure that future generations can enjoy Nature’s playgrounds,” said Chaffee. Tex Hall, President of the National Congress of American Indians, NVF board member, coach and teacher, who once tried out for the Denver Nuggets, said, “Indian youth sports opportunities are the answer.”
While waiting for a humanitarian grant, NVF is not currently in a position to be able to assist Callan, but here’s an opportunity for anyone to give Indian youth across America assistance and hope, either directly, or through a tax-deductible donation though NVF’s 501(c)3 at: www.nativevoices.org. Or to give Callan a hand to go the Jr World’s in Switzerland, contact NVF.
Native Voices Foundation is a Colorado 501(c)3 nonprofit partnership of US Tribal leaders and Olympians… “to create joyful unity through sports to help heal Mother Earth for all our children.”
The Swiss Father of Modern Psychology, Carl Jung, came to America looking for a psychologically healthy person. He found the key elements living with the Pueblo Indians: Getting high naturally through dance/sports; Enjoying Nature to heal/develop intuition; creating an art project to express who we are; and giving back our unique gift for the greater good of all.” Time to return and restore this gift.