Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux Tribe hosts walk for cancer

Oglala Lakota cancer survivors walked on June 27, 2016, to bring awareness to the disease, which has affected many in Indian Country. Photo by Vi Waln

Oglala Citizens Observe Native American Cancer Awareness Month
By Vi Waln
Lakota Times Correspondent

PINE RIDGE – Several tribal citizens of all ages braved a hot summer day and walked from the Billy Mills Hall to the pow-wow grounds to acknowledged Native American Cancer Awareness Month.

The June 27 activity was hosted by the Oglala Sioux Tribe Health Education program. For the past 4 years, the Health Education program staff have worked to bring awareness to the prevalence of cancer in Indian Country. Each walker received a t-shirt with 9 purple awareness ribbons printed on the front to represent each District. The shirts also read “In Honor of all Cancer Patients, Survivors & in Memory of our Loved Ones.”

June was declared Native American Cancer Awareness Month on the Pine Ridge Reservation. President John Yellow Bird-Steele issued an Executive Proclamation on May 1, 2012m stating in part “cancer in all forms is affecting our Lakota Oyate and the incidences are rising in our communities. . . screenings are available for many types of cancer and is vital to minimize the impact on the Oyate. . . the OST Health Education Program strongly encourages the Oyate to get screened.”

Eileen Janis offered an opening prayer at the 4-way stop light. The group then walked to the pow-wow grounds. Each person received a bag of assorted products to use at home. Water and roast beef sandwiches were served to all. The lunch also included healthy apple crisp and a recipe for the dessert was distributed.

Oglala Lakota citizens paused for a photo at the pow-wow grounds in Pine Ridge after the walk. Photo by Vi Waln

Cancer awareness events are organized to bring attention to the importance of getting regular screening done to reduce your chances of getting cancer. Visit with your medical provided to learn how you can schedule screenings for different types of cancer. Some forms of cancer can be cured early if they are detected soon enough. But you won’t know your status until you are screened.

Sponsors of the event included OST Health Administration, Rick & Mary Mousseau, EAP, Robin Tapio, the Lakota Country Times, KILI Radio, Harvey Whitewoman/Carole Anne Heart Cancer Support Groups, All Seasons Screen Printing, Great Plains Tribal Chairman’s Health Board, OST Tawacin Ohokila and all Tribal Programs.

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Karen Red Star, Director OST Health Education Program, can be heard every Monday on KILI Radio. She hosts an informative hour on steps tribal citizens can take to be improve their health. The show can be heard from 1-2pm at 90.1 on your FM dial. If you don’t live in the local listening area, visit to listen online.

The Health Education staff will join other programs at the Annual Health Fair scheduled for Thursday, August 4, 2016 beginning at 10am. Booths will be set up at the pow-wow grounds in Pine Ridge. The public is welcome to attend the event, which will offer a variety of information and incentives. For more information, please call the Health Education office at 605-867-2067.

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