The money was for unpaid support costs for 1998 in correlation to underpayments of more than $31 million, including interest and underpayments, between 2005 and 2013 and as a result of the Supreme Court case Cherokee Nation, et al v. Leavitt.
According to the 2004 Supreme Court opinion, the “Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act authorizes the Government and Indian tribes to enter into contracts in which tribes promise to supply federally funded services that a Government agency normally would provide.”
It also states the act “requires the government to pay…a tribe’s ‘contract support costs’ which are ‘reasonable costs’ that a federal agency would not have incurred, but which the tribe would incur in managing the program…”
However, in that timeframe the opinion states the reasoning the government did not pay the contract support costs as promised is because Congress had not appropriated enough funds.
Mark Keeley, a clinical dietitian and 34-year Cherokee Nation employee, said while working with Native Americans he’s stressed that salt doesn’t need to be added to food and could adversely affect a person’s health.
“Salt will retain fluid on your body…that fluid is going to take up lung space. So now you’re trying to breathe around lungs that are trying to fill up,” he said. “If your heart’s not able to pump as well as it used to then the slower your blood stream moves the more some of that salty water will leak off into your ankles and legs, and so now you’re carrying weight around and it kind of waterlogs your system.”
Keeley said he’s had people tell him that they salt their food even before tasting it.
“People have told me, ‘Here’s what I used to do. I use to salt food before I even tasted it and salt it heavy and then taste it.’ Then they say, ‘I don’t do salt anymore.’ I come across a lot more people that tell me that. Those folks are becoming more common, but there’s room for work,” he said.
Mark Keeley, a clinical dietitian and 34-year Cherokee Nation employee, prepares vegetables for a vegetarian minestrone soup at the tribe’s Food Distribution demo kitchen in Tahlequah. Keeley stresses that there are healthier ways to make foods, with the first step being to either limit or cut salt completely. STACIE BOSTON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Dr. Jana Jordan, of Cherokee Nation W.W. Hastings Hospital, said exercising is the “most important thing for seniors to do to stay young.”
With frequent exercise, seniors can delay, improve and even prevent diseases and conditions that come with age such as diabetes, stroke, heart and kidney disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis and cancers.
“Exercising improves cardiovascular health, so that lowers cholesterol. So in turn that prevents heart attack and stroke. It makes the heart stronger, so that goes along with helping high blood pressure. Almost any condition they may have like heart disease, kidney disease and diabetes is going to be improved by exercising,” Jordan said.
Muscle mass also plays a part in senior health. It declines with age, resulting in loss of balance and bone strength, which can lead to injury. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the leading cause of death and injury among seniors.
Senior citizens step up on a box to improve balance and joint movement during a senior stretch and exercise class at the Cherokee Nation’s Male Seminary Recreational Center in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. KENLEA HENSON/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Screening mammograms can find micro-calcifications (calcium deposits) that can indicate breast cancer. Mammograms can also check for breast cancer after a lump or other sign is found. This mammogram is called a diagnostic mammogram.
Besides a lump, cancer signs can include breast pain, thickening of the breast’s skin, nipple discharge or change in breast size or shape. However, these signs may also be benign conditions.
A diagnostic mammogram can also be used to evaluate changes found in a screening mammogram or to view tissue when it is difficult to obtain a screening mammogram because of special circumstances such as the presence of breast implants.
Retired nurse practitioner Vickie Love said women’s health was “a priority” when she worked at the Wilma P. Mankiller Health Center in Stilwell.
Chris Wofford, Cherokee Nation Behavioral Health Services clinical supervisor, said in some cases stress from “past trauma” in young adults can present “similarly” to Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or similar “disorders of attention.”
“So they might have difficulty focusing, difficulty staying on task once they start things, difficulty feeling calm or rested. Usually impacts sleep and certainly impact their ability to feel comfortable in groups or around other people. So sometimes that leads to some isolation and stuff like that,” he said.
For day-to-day stress, Wofford said it’s “a little more” identifiable.
“Just regular stress you know day-to-day, ‘I’ve got this homework assignment or I’ve got this task for work that I have to complete.’ Kind of similar, but usually it’s a little more identifiable,” he said.
A “Paper Chain of Healing” hangs on display at The HERO Project office in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. White links on the chain represent a time of self-harm for a youth while the colored links represent times the same youth found courage and strength to resist self harming. If youths need to speak to someone at The HERO Project, they can call 918-772-4004. STACIE GUTHRIE/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Barbara Williams, a Cherokee Nation certified prevention specialist, has taught pregnancy prevention for more than 20 years through programs such as “Date but Wait” and “Straight Talk.” Her mission is to help parents and children talk openly about sex to avoid misinformation, a sharp contrast to how she was raised.
“My mother never talked to me about how to prevent pregnancy or anything like that, and I asked her why. She said, ‘Oh, I don’t know. I figured you would learn it from somewhere,’” Williams said.
In 2015, Oklahoma’s teen pregnancy rate was 34.8 per 1,000 females, compared to the national average of 22.3, according to the State Department of Health. Within the CN, Adair County ranks significantly higher with an average between 55.2 and 67.4 pregnancies per 1,000.
“I know there’s a problem with teen pregnancy, and I know it goes back to parents not talking to their kids about it, especially in our Indian families,” Williams said. “There are no (Cherokee) words for anything that has to do with sex. We need to make the tribe know there’s a problem, especially in our rural communities.”
According to the National Sleep Foundation’s website, sleepfoundation.org, children aged 6 to 13 years old need nine to 11 hours of sleep per night. However, there are factors that can lead to difficulty falling asleep, thus reducing sleep time. These factors can also cause nightmares or disruptions in sleep.
“School-aged children become more interested in TV, computers, the media and Internet as well as caffeine products – all of which can lead to difficulty falling asleep, nightmares and disruptions to their sleep. In particular, watching TV close to bedtime has been associated with bedtime resistance, difficulty falling asleep, anxiety around sleep and sleeping fewer hours,” the website states.
It suggests parents should educate their children about healthy sleep habits that include:
• Emphasizing the need for regular and consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine,
Symptoms are more noticeable in children as young as 18 months. “You can see it through sensory issues and social communication issues and some motor stuff as well, how kids use their bodies,” Rachel Ottley, Greenhouse Pediatric Therapy occupational therapist, said.
Prime ages for diagnoses are between 2 and 3 years old. Signs include difficulty sleeping, picky eating, being held and the types of food eaten. Babies with autism display no social interaction such as smiling at someone and can get extremely focused on an object or attached to things like a blanket, toy or cup.
Cherokee Nation citizen Nathan Hicks said his daughter, Lilly, was diagnosed with autism at nearly 2 years. He said when she was 1 she didn’t meet certain milestones, and symptoms became more noticeable. At 18 months, Nathan and his wife told their pediatrician that Lilly was different. A psychiatrist confirmed Lilly’s diagnosis after several visits.
Nathan said one indicator was she wasn’t communicating the way an 18-month-old should. Rather she stared at the ground or floor making repetitive noises. “One of the markers that she wasn’t doing was she wouldn’t cross midline. By that, if something was sitting off to the right, she would use her right hand but she wouldn’t reach over with her left hand to get it. It was very divisional. Right hand got the right side things, left hand got the left side things.”
Rachel Ottley, Greenhouse Pediatric Therapy occupational therapist, stands in the sensory gym at Greenhouse in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. The room is one of four used to help stimulate children with developmental disorders such as autism and teach them how to socially interact and communicate. LINDSEY BARK/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
“Having well-rounded eating habits is about having a healthy relationship with food. It isn’t about depriving yourself of things you love, but being able to balance food that is just for fun and food that provides what our bodies need,” Swim said.
Babies (0-12 months)
For babies less than a year old, Swim said they benefit most from breast milk or formula if producing milk isn’t an option. When a child turns 6 months old, solid food can be implemented into the diet.