Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk Blog for Let’s Move! in Indian Country
It was an honor to be a part of the Let’s Move! in Indian Country (LMIC) launch on the Menominee Reservation in Wisconsin. I was there to commemorate the launch with the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Office; the White House Domestic Policy Council; the Departments of Interior, Education and Agriculture; the Indian Health Service; the Corporation for National Community Service; and, the Menominee Tribe. I saw first-hand that the Menominee tribal community and youth are very eager to take ownership of their health care to counter the troubling issues of obesity in their community.
On February 2, 2010, First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled her “Let’s Move!” initiative to combat childhood obesity in the U.S. More recently, the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity issued its report to the President: “Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity within a Generation.” I was personally struck by the report’s discussion of the susceptibility of American Indian and Alaska Native children to childhood obesity and related diseases, such as juvenile diabetes. These findings are very troubling, and I am glad that we are all taking steps to address this important issue.
I can personally attest to the value of being health-conscious. Being active and taking care of my health has played an immense role in my own life. My family has been very fortunate in obtaining their education, and many are attorneys. Our success could be closely attributed to the active lives that my siblings and I led while growing up. Because our parents were not wealthy, being physically active, especially in athletics, led to us to being fortunate enough to attend college on athletic scholarships. I have seen how being active and focused on health can be a direct path to benefits throughout life. A person doesn’t have to possess great athletic skills or talent, but simply being active and staying healthy can ensure that our minds and our thoughts stay clear. My wife is a former nurse and we both know how important it is to stay healthy and active. Even to this day, we try to walk every evening. The benefits to living a healthy active life are enormous.
In order to meet our physical activity goal for the LMIC initiative, Indian Country hopes to have 25,000 PALA achievements by September 2011. Signing up and recording your physical activity is easy, and we have created our own group identification code (group number 97158) so that we can track how many people in Indian Country are on their way to a healthier lifestyle.
To register go to: www.presidentschallenge.org/lmic and enter group number 97158
- Select “Create an Account” and follow the steps to register. Select PALA as your challenge.
- Throughout the challenge, return to this page to track your physical activity.
- If you would like to create a group for your tribe, school, club, community, etc., Select “Start a Group” and follow the steps to register. After your group is created, email your Group ID to firstname.lastname@example.org to get your participants counted towards our LMIC goal!
Visit The President’s Challenge website at http://www.presidentschallenge.org/ for additional information. The website offers an array of support and information for PALA coordinators, participants, including instructions, free online tracking tools, and recommendations for maximizing success. For additional questions regarding this initiative, please contact Kevin Discepolo at 202-208-7773 or email email@example.com. Good luck!
My trip to Menominee showed me the positive potential from all of Indian Country addressing this very important matter. Not only were the Menominee Tribe’s youth involved in the day’s activities, but the entire community as well. I am confident that they will continue to move forward in becoming more healthy and active for themselves and their future generations.
I look forward to walking and enjoying the outdoors in active ways throughout the days to come. Join me by becoming more active yourselves!
Larry Echo Hawk
Assistant Secretary – Indian Affairs
Department of the Interior