Health | Opinion

Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe comes together for health

Dancers at a Northern Cheyenne fair. Photo: Visions Service Adventures
National and Northern Cheyenne ‘Go Red’ Day
By Clara Caufield
Native Sun News Today Columnist

February is National Heart Month, set-aside to call attention and promote prevention efforts to thwart heart disease which kills more women than all cancers combined.

The problem is even more pronounced among Native Americans who suffer high rates of diabetes, the two health problems closely connected. Throughout February and all through the year, the American Heart Association and many health organizations are doing their part to inform Americans that heart disease is preventable, treatable and unnecessary given the right lifestyle choices and responsible health care.

Friday, February 3 is National “Go Red Day” when folks are encouraged to wear red, often in memory of a loved one who suffers from the disease or may have succumbed to it. “Go Red” activities and observances will be occurring all over American on this national day of observance, commemorated by Congress.

Thus, it is delightful to report that the Northern Cheyenne Nation will also observe “Go Red” Day. Heck, as we joked we are already “Red”, just now dressing up that way.

We had planned to start the event with a walk (to encourage physical activity) but Old Man Winter seems against us, the temperatures recently plummeting to sub-degree, bringing much snow and ice, making a walk dicey, especially for our elders who plan to fully participate as many of them have experienced this health problem, not wishing to have their children, grand-children or great-grand-children to do so. Thankfully, our Tribal President, L.Jace Killsback. former tribal health administrator promised to lead the parade (dressed in red), but will now give a keynote address at the gathering, with encouraging remarks, health a priority of his administration.

The group met at the Tribal Chambers, special guests of our Tribal President to have an educational and fun gathering, complete with motivational speakers, great refreshments (including fresh red strawberries, other fruit, treats and wholesome teas and door prizes deluxe for those who have blood pressure checks or promise to have screenings). The Northern Cheyenne “Red Day” was designed to be an uplifting day of encouragement for all our people, focusing upon women who seem to suffer from the disease more often than men.

Motivational speakers include: President Killsback; Desiree Restad, Health Promotion Program Manager with a power point presentation on symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, management and, if necessary treatment to save lives. I was personally excited about two other presentations, one from a modest Cheyenne life-long cowgirl, rancher and former iron worker i.e. an “iron lady” who at a very young age survived a massive heart attack, now in service to others who does not wish to be named. The other is my very good friend Elise Wick, tribal elder now in her 70’s who has survived three massive heart attacks, three surgeries and is now on her second pace maker.

Read the rest of the story on the Native Sun News Today website: National and Northern Cheyenne ‘Go Red’ Day

(Clara Caufield can be reached at

Copyright permission Native Sun News

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