D.C. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today was joined
by college football All-American and Rhodes Scholar Myron Rolle
to announce a new partnership that will introduce an innovative
physical fitness and health program into Interior-funded American
objective in this initiative is to inspire American Indian and Native
Alaskan students to live healthier lifestyles through exercise,
outdoor activity, and proper nutrition," Secretary Salazar said.
"The program developed by the Myron Rolle Foundation will celebrate
the uniqueness of their heritage and identity in curriculum, develop
trust amongst peers, train leaders and involve the community to
ensure their needs are met."
Bureau of Indian Education-funded schools are excited to participate
in this initiative," said Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry
Echo Hawk. "They look forward to implementing the innovative features
of this program that encourages children and their families to incorporate
physical fitness and healthy choices into their daily lives."
am inspired by the way American Indian tribes have persevered and
thrived, while retaining their cultural heritage and identity,"
Rolle said. "There are, however, significant health concerns that
challenge this population -- in particular diabetes and obesity.
Through the Our Way to Health Program, our goal is to encourage
and help American Indian children in middle school to begin managing
not only their own diet and exercise but, hopefully by extension,
influence the adults in their lives to also begin adopting healthy
life style changes."
Way to Health provides incentive-based learning experiences, team-building
physical activities in the outdoors, health education and diabetes
awareness sessions. Rolle initially developed the curriculum for
American Indian fifth-graders at a charter school in Okeechobee,
Florida, when he was working with the Seminole Tribe. Rolle was
an All-American safety for Florida State University in 2008-2009,
but has delayed entering the National Football League to pursue
studies as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford.
Interior will expand the Our Way to Health program to five Bureau
of Indian Education-funded schools in New Mexico and Arizona beginning
in the fall of 2009. Three of the schools are in Arizona and two are
in New Mexico. The schools are:
Felipe Pueblo Elementary School (San Felipe Pueblo, New Mexico)
Isleta Elementary School (Albuquerque, New Mexico)
Hotevilla Bacavi Community School (Hotevilla, Arizona)
Tuba City Boarding School (Tuba City, Arizona)
Keams Canyon Elementary School (Kearns Canyon, Arizona)
of the program include two visits to each school by Myron Rolle
and a visit at the end of the semester to a National Football League
or collegiate sporting event . The curriculum will allow the Bureau
of Indian Education to reach students in a new and direct way. The
program is competitive, fun, rewarding and will be tailored to meet
each school's individual needs.
Bureau of Indian Education serves 42,000 students in 183 schools
and dormitories across the country on 64 reservations in 23 states.
The mission statement of BIE reflects its commitment to "manifest
consideration of the whole person by taking into account the spiritual,
mental, physical, and cultural aspects of the individual."