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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Arizona State Museum Creates Path to Healthy Living
Arizona State Museum presents "Through the Eyes of the Eagle: Illustrating Healthy Living," a family-friendly exhibit inspired by a children's book series of the same name to draw attention to the staggering statistics on obesity and the associated health complications.

The exhibit, which will run Oct. 15 through Jan. 7, raises awareness about type 2 diabetes prevention from a Native American perspective. History, culture and health are explored through objects, photographs, artwork, storytelling and video.

Arizona State Museum plans a healthy celebration timed to coincide with the theme of the exhibition on Nov. 12 on the front lawn of the museum. The event includes a free 5K fun walk/run with registration at 8 a.m., as well as a farmer's market, multicultural performances and nutritional, dance and athletic clinics taking place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Arizona State Museum worked collaboratively with many units at the University of Arizona and within the city and county to enhance the traveling exhibition and to raise obesity awareness with local relevance.

Nationally, nearly one-third of adults and children are overweight or obese – a rate that is nearly double among American Indians/Alaskan Natives.

In Arizona, the numbers also are dramatic, with the U.S. Surgeon General reporting that the O'odham of southern Arizona have one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. In Arizona's overall population, almost one quarter of are obese, and nearly 18 percent of children in the state are as well.

"Collaborations have brought a richness to what we are offering in this exhibit, and I hope will draw a diverse visitorship to reflect on what we as individuals and as a community can do to address the critical issue of obesity and the resulting health complications, such as diabetes," said Lisa Falk, Arizona State Museum director of education and coordinator of the exhibit's many facets.

The series was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Diabetes Translation, in collaboration with the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee and the Indian Health Service.

Written by Georgia Perez (who served as a Community Health Representative for 19 years in Nambe Pueblo, New Mexico) and illustrated by Patrick Rolo (Bad River Band of Ojibwe, Wisconsin) and Lisa A. Fifield (Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, Black Bear Clan), the series includes four books: "Through the Eyes of the Eagle," "Knees Lifted High," "Plate Full of Color" and "Tricky Treats."

The books' original watercolor illustrations are part of a national, traveling exhibit. Arizona State Museum, a center for community engagement, has enhanced the exhibit with modern and historical features including:

  • An original comic book, "It's Up 2 You!," co-created by Ryan Huna Smith (Chemehuevi/Navajo) and Lisa Falk, the museum's director of education. The book challenges youth about the temptations of fast food and video gaming and engages them about the benefits of physical activity and healthy eating in a fun and meaningful way.
  • Prehistoric, historic and contemporary objects, in addition to photographs, to illustrate the diet of Sonoran Desert people over 13,000 years – from Paleoindian to Hohokam to Tohono O'odham. A section curated by Terrol Dew Johnson (Tohono O'odham) of Tohono O'odham Community Action uses photographs, videos and objects to share current efforts to revitalize traditional food practices within his community.
  • Footwear spanning 1,400 years illustrate indigenous traditions of movement and exercise: prehistoric sandals, historic beaded moccasins and running sandals made from tires, contemporary skateboard shoes and Nike's ® N7 Air Native trainers are among those included.
  • Videos and hands-on activities, including a Nintendo ® Wii ® skateboard game, round out the visitor experience.

In addition to being a major feature of the exhibit at the museum, two of the books are on display as part of the World of Words Library at the UA College of Education.

Contact Info
Media Contact

Darlene Lizarraga
Arizona State Musuem

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About the Eagle Books
The Eagle Books are a series of four children’s books for Native American children and others interested in healthy living. The books promote type 2 diabetes prevention and encourage a return to traditional ways, including physical activity and healthy eating. The series was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of Diabetes Translation (DDT), in collaboration with the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee and the Indian Health Service, in response to the burden of diabetes among Native Americans and the lack of diabetes prevention materials for children.
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