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“Healing Journey”

January 2016 March 2016

Greetings from Ashley Tuomi, CEO... Łax̣ayam, It has been another great year here at American Indian Health and Family Services. We have expanded our programming with new grants and are continuing to grow by adding new providers. We also welcomed our new Medical Director, Dr. Kachman, who has been working hard to improve the services provided in our clinic. As many of you know, we have begun the process at looking for a new location. Thank you to all of you that participated in our surveys and focus groups in the past year. You input is valuable as we continue our plans for relocation. We had a great collaboration again this year with the North American Indian Association for our annual pow wow. It was a great event that included health education, flu shots, hope and wellness screenings, and our annual wellness walk.

Aanii from


We are very excited about the upcoming Solstice Celebration on December 21st and hope to see you all there to celebrate this great year with us.

Inside this issue:

Ashley Tuomi CEO

Winter Cold Safety Tips!


Advisory Council


Access To Recovery


Healthy Start


Healing Our Bodies, Healing Ourselves


Dream Seekers


What Moves You?


Sacred Bundle Suicide Prevention


Outreach and Training for Tribes


Color Run


Upcoming Events


Agency Wants & Needs


Thank you, Madonna Students! by Rosebud Schneider For some time now, AIHFS and Madonna University School of Nursing have had a partnership. Nursing students have a number of clinical placements they must complete. During their time here they focus on the community health aspect of nursing. The students have worked directly with Healthy Start and have accompanied us on home visits. They are also a big part of our monthly playgroup when they are here. If you have been to our playgroup, then you know how great they are with the children. They also present on family health topics during the playgroup. You may have seen them throughout the agency or at our community events like our past powwows and Halloween Celebration. Healthy Start would like to extend a heartfelt Thank You to the Madonna Nursing students and their professor, Dr. Sarah Hortsch, for a wonderful semester.


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Winter Cold Safety Tips! by Daryl Boser COLD STRESS SAFETY As if snow- and ice-related injuries are not enough, certain health conditions may hit people because of severe cold. People are at risk of developing hypothermia or frostbite because of the lower temperatures. These conditions are generally known as cold stress illness and injury. Cold stress can be a fatal threat to every worker. Once exposed to cold or freezing temperatures for long periods of time, people run the risk of losing body heat. If not treated immediately, this could lead to brain damage and even death. Follow the tips below to avoid getting cold stress. 1. If possible adjust your work schedule to the cold and changing weather. Schedule your work outside for the warmest part of the day. 2. Layer your clothes. For clothes next to the skin, choose those with synthetic fabrics to avoid absorption of sweat. An ideal choice is polypropylene. For your outer layers, choose waterproof and wind-resistant material. 3. Eat and drink hot or warm foods and liquids. If you are sick or on medication you are more at risk to cold stress. This is also true if you have hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease. Signs and symptoms of hypothermia are: 1. Cool skin 2. Slower, irregular breathing 3. Slower heartbeat 4. Weak pulse 5. Uncontrollable shivering 6. Severe shaking 7. Rigid muscles 8. Drowsiness 9. Exhaustion 10. Slurred speech 11. Memory lapses Signs and symptoms of frostbite: 1. Paleness of the skin 2. Sensation of coldness or pain 3. Pain disappears after a while with the freezing of the tissues 4. Tissues become increasingly whiter and harder Traveling Traveling can be a means to spending quality time with your family, but when inclement weather strikes, having a safety kit could save your life.

Slippery or snow-covered roads, reduced visibility and bitter cold are all conditions that make driving stressful, difficult and dangerous! Conditions like these could increase the likelihood of getting in an accident or having car trouble. An important rule to always follow is dressing warm in case you end up outside of your car for an extended period of time with cold temperatures due to difficulty. If you are aware something is not right with your car stay calm and pull over to the side of the road as soon as possible. Your car is a shelter and will keep you dry. Open your window slightly on the side sheltered from the wind. Refrain from keeping your engine started. If running the engine is a necessity, make sure your exhaust pipe is not obstructed by snow, so not affected by carbon dioxide. Keep in mind that ceiling lights will not drain a car battery as fast as leaving headlights or emergency flashing lights on. It is also important to keep your blood flowing, so moving your hands, feet and arms to maintain circulation and stay awake is important if you are immobile for a long period of time. While you are stopped, keep an eye out for first responders and other vehicles. Having a safety kit or emergency equipment in your car is vital. • Food that will not spoil, such as energy bars • Water – plastic bottles that will not break if the water freezes (replace every six months) • Warm blanket • Wind-up flashlight • Whistle • Roadmaps • Paper and pencil • Extra clothing, shoes, or boots • First aid kit with seatbelt cutter • Small shovel, scraper and snowbrush for winter • Candle in a deep can and matches • Sand, salt or cat litter (non-clumping) Besides these emergency items, every car should also carry: • Antifreeze and window washer-fluid • Warning lights or road flares • Jumper cables • Fire extinguisher


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Community Advisory Council (CAC) by John Marcus As I write this article we have already had our first snowfall and cold spell. I hope everyone is ready as mother earth prepares herself for rest and reflection. In August we had Charles Lawrence present from the Detroit office of the Veterans Administration. The focus was on what type of services the VA could help the Native Americans receive. He was very open to hearing from our community and said he may be reached at 734-560-7760 if anyone would like any assistance with the VA. In September, we had a Community Advisory Council Appreciation Night. A special Indigenous meal was prepared by AIHFS’ SNAP-Ed & BALAC grant program coordinator, Shiloh Maples. Everyone received a really nice Pendleton coffee mug and some sage as a show of appreciation for their commitment to being a part of our Community Advisory Council. I would like to take this moment to once again thank the members for their monthly participation. That night we also had a short presentation from the Detroit Food Policy Council. We completed a survey and had discussion about grocery stores, farmers markets, urban agriculture, school food and other related topics. In October we reviewed videos about the Native American Heritage Day event held September 26th that AIHFS was a partner on. One video was an overview of the event called Highlights. Another was a sampler video that was a shortened version of the Highlights video, and the last was called Dance Styles. Their feedback was awesome! The finished version of the sampler can be found at our Facebook page and the other 2 videos can be found at our YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/aihfsmich. While you are there, look for a video we made to Honor Veterans and was published on Veterans Day, November 11th. Have a great winter, everyone! John Marcus, ph (313) 846-6030 x1403, email: jmarcus@aihfs.org

Access to Recovery by Shelly Nimocks-Hinshaw How long have you been struggling with addiction? What fears have a grasp on your mind & heart? Losing your job, a loved one, your home. These can all take a toll on your spirit. Alcohol and drugs may be an escape but what are you escaping? At AIHFS, we have an exciting program called Anishnaabek Healing Circle Access To Recovery (ATR). ATR is a healing circle of friends, community members, and substance abuse professionals who will walk with you on a journey to wellness. If you or a loved one in your family is struggling with drugs or alcohol, then you can get the help you need to break the cycle of addition. Please give us a call at (313) 846-6030 and make an appointment. The door is open ….it’s up to you to walk through it.


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Maajtaag Mnobmaadzid Native Healthy Start Healthy Start/Family Spirit by Nina Eusani The Healthy Start/Family Spirit program had a busy fall! During the month of October, we welcomed Ruth Kalenieki from Detroit Public Television, who taught the class series Preschool U to our parents. Over three Fridays, parents attended this series of informal classes to learn interactive activities to do with their infants, toddlers, and preschoolers to build skills for school readiness. Each class focused on different areas of child development. Healthy Start/Family Spirit provided transportation and lunch, as well as translation for Spanish-speaking parents. Madonna University Nursing students assisted with the program and helped to entertain children during the classes. Parents received a book with information about all the topics covered and links to online videos used in the classes. Parents were also given affordable household objects such as measuring cups and bath sponges that can be used as educational toys for young children. In the future, Healthy Start/Family Spirit staff will be able to teach these classes ourselves to interested parents and caregivers. In November, we had a great playgroup, which was also our time to say Miigwetch and Baamapii to Rosebud Schneider. Rosebud has been part of the Healthy Start team since its beginning in 2010, and she has been an important part of our families’ lives. She wants everyone to know that she is not leaving the agency, just taking another position as the Program Assistant for our Healthy Foods Initiative. Rosebud will be right down the hall from us here at AIHFS, so stop in and see her. We will miss her in the Healthy Start/Family Spirit office!

December 18 January 15 February 19 March 18 April 15

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Healing Our Bodies, Healing Ourselves by Shiloh Maples Sovereignty is a term often used in Indian Country. Oftentimes, when sovereignty is discussed it is in regards to native communities’ legal authority to govern ourselves or determine our own future. Many feel that sovereignty is inherent to us as indigenous people—given to us by The Creator or Great Mystery—it is both a right and a responsibility to take care of oneself and our community (both human and non-human beings). However, due to colonization, it has been increasingly difficult for native communities to do that. Before contact with settlers, indigenous people that lived in the Great Lakes region relied on a mostly plant-based diet, had few diseases, and lived in balance with Mother Earth. Humans honored their relationship to other beings by treating them with respect, and in return those plant relatives fed their bodies, were medicine, and nourished their spirits during the ceremony. It was a good life. Colonization introduced native people to new foods and substances such as alcohol and removed them from homelands to which they were spiritually connected. Communities were repeatedly relocated and continuously forced to abandon traditional lifeways— removed or restricted from accessing hunting and gathering lands, becoming more dependent on unhealthy commodity foods. Efforts to assimilate native people—through boarding schools, land allotments, and urban relocation programs– interrupted the ways that our communities passed on important knowledge and skills from one generation to the next. The losses are immeasurable and too numerous to count, but the legacy is still present in our families and communities today. Our bodies tell this history— especially in our devastating rates of obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. These are only a couple of the burdens native communities are forced to live with as a result of losing such large pieces of our traditional foodways and sovereignty. These symptoms are only made worse by the unhealthy food environment we all live in. America’s current food system is made up largely of companies that dictate how food is grown, processed, distributed, and their price—all of which impact everyday people’s ability to make their own decisions around their diet, and, therefore, their health. Those companies—in combination with poor food policies— have made unhealthy foods entirely too convenient and cheap. Healthy eating—and healthy living— has now become a privilege that only a few can afford. But it doesn’t have to be this way; our communities have the power and ability to break the cycles of illness and prevent future generations from experiencing the same conditions. Through food sovereignty, communities can regain control over their food and wellness. Food sovereignty is a movement that is currently building around the world—especially in indigenous communities—yet there is no simple definition and it often looks different in each community. The simplest way to describe food sovereignty is community control over the way food is produced, traded, and consumed. It’s about people having the rights, skills, and ability to feed themselves. Ojibwe economist and environmental activist Winona LaDuke has stated that we are not truly sovereign until we can feed ourselves. I am grateful for the resilience, strength, and beauty of spirit that our native ancestors had in order to survive and ensure the continuation of our communities. Native peoples have made tremendous strides in healing themselves—mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. However, we are not where LET AIHFS HELP GIVE YOU A HOLIDAY HEALTHY HEART!! we want to be yet. There is still a lot of work that needs Let AIHFS help you balance your plate for the holidays to be done and requires us all to take action. Whether we Beginning with salads and veggies. start growing tomatoes on our porch steps, learn to cook Let us help you use healthy substitution with traditional foods, or share our garden’s harvest with In traditional recipes for the holiday season. friends and family -- even if our steps are slow and small, we all can help regain control over our food and continue Low-calorie sugar substitute instead of sugar; our journey to wellness. And low-fat or skim milk instead of whole or heavy cream. Olive oil instead of butter; The BALAC (Bemidji Area Leaders Acting for Change) Herbs and spices instead of butter or salt in your meals grant is an opportunity for the native community of Use rosemary or cloves for flavor. southeast Michigan to take bigger actions on policy, Whole-grain pastas and breads instead of white bread. community, and environmental levels. Over the next 4 Try baked, grilled, or steamed veggies instead of fried veggies. years of this grant, we can plant the seeds of change. If Make Your Appointment today you are interested in learning more or becoming involved, please contact me, Shiloh, at smaples@aihfs.org. I’m with our Nutritionist for a Healthier You! looking forward to working with you.


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Fall Camp Was Fun and Inspiring! Dream Seekers Youth Program by Joe Reilly, LLMSW More than 30 youth participated in hand drum and ribbon skirt making workshops, painting, archery, rock wall climbing, zip lining, hiking, and several traditional Anishnaabe language and cultural teachings. Our youth also enjoyed eating together in the camp cafeteria and working in teams to clean up after each meal.

The Dream Seekers Youth Program got off to a great start this school year with a fun Fall Culture Camp at YMCA Camp Ohiyesa in Holly, Michigan. We collaborated with the Algonac Indian Education Program, language instructors from Walpole Island First Nation, and the YMCA Camp Staff to design a weekend of activities that offered our youth many ways to learn about themselves, each other, and Anishnaabe language and culture. Our youth and parents braved the cold for 3 days of inspiring and educational indoor and outdoor adventures!

This camp was a wonderful way for our youth to experience a sense of belonging to a larger community of Native youth, teachers, parents, grandparents, and elders. It is our hope that they will carry this experience with them, and that it will help give them a strong sense of identity as they navigate through the challenges of the remaining school year. The Dream Seekers Youth Program continues to meet each Monday and Tuesday after school at AIHFS to reinforce these teachings and to continue to build a strong sense of support and encouragement for our youth. We welcome youth ages 8-17 to join us. Parental registration is required. Call Martha or Joe for more information: (313) 846-6030.

Are you a college student or graduate interested in pursuing further studies? Our very own Michon Johnson has helped organize the 2016 Graduate Horizons, a 72-hour “crash course” for Native American college students and graduates preparing for master’s, doctoral, or professional school graduate studies. The conference is only held every 2 years and next year it will be at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. For more information, visit www.graduatehorizons.org/apply. Applications are due February 3, 2016

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Manidookewigashkibjigan Sacred Bundle Program By Christy Bieber We are Welcoming the Winter Season Winter is a beautiful time to celebrate community, and it is also a time of stories. This Season and section of our medicine wheel also represents healing and mental wellness. That being said, I wanted to share a story of some of the highlights of this past year for our Sacred Bundle suicide prevention program. Our mission for the next four years is to continue the good work of breaking down stigma and reducing suicide amongst Native youth ages 10-24 and also to extend that impact out to Tribal communities in Michigan. We have made amazing strides towards that goal! On the Home Front we have:  Trained 83 ASIST Gatekeepers These are community members & Service providers trained to intervene with someone at risk for suicide.  Been a part of 4 Community Events where we Screened 84 youth This is where we do the Wellness & Hope Screening, providing a $20 incentive to help reduce stigma. We provide onsite intervention, resources & support for those who are at risk.  Supported cultural activities for Healing and Mental Wellness Our journey this year started with Tribal Communities. We started by connecting with the Behavioral Health Directors, working through a suicideTALK exploration and conversation as well as surveying them. Our findings were that 10 of 11 wanted to hear more about our screening program and that all 11 were interested in more suicide-related training. This paved the way to begin our work where we were able to hold ASIST Trainings with 3 Tribal Communities, training a total of 61 people. Several of these trainings were very balanced with representation from the fields of mental health, primary healthcare, administrators, community members, and tribal police! Our trainings have sparked conversations towards policy change to better procedures to be culturally appropriate and dramatically less stigmatizing. Every community we have worked with is excited to start working towards a youth screenings too! All in all, we are so happy with what Sacred Bundle has accomplished this year! We look forward to continuing working towards our goals. We want to thank all of you #HealingHelpers, whether you are just now learning of this program, a seasoned helper in the community, or just starting to work towards bettering your mental health. Miigwetch! It takes a whole community to create a suicide-safer one. Happy Solstice and know that there is always hope, even if it feels like just a glimmer. Call, Text, & Chat — National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

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Outreach and Training for Tribes By Karen Marshall A major component of the Sacred Bundle Youth Suicide Prevention Project at AIHFS is extending our work and the tools available to the 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan. Sacred Bundle is a 5-year project funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration, and October 1 marked the end of the first year of work under the grant. Michigan’s tribal communities responded with great enthusiasm to what the grant offers by scheduling community suicide prevention presentations, awareness trainings, and intensive two-day suicide intervention workshops as ways of reducing youth suicide attempts and deaths. Among the goals for Year 1 were to: partner with one tribe, provide gatekeeper suicide prevention training to 100 people, and offer suicide awareness and prevention programs to a broad cross-section of people who are tribal members or who offer services to Native Americans throughout the state. In addition to training American Indians/Alaska Natives in the urban areas in and around Detroit, AIHFS conducted suicide prevention/intervention trainings for four tribes (two in the Lower Peninsula, two in the Upper Peninsula) to nearly 150 people. One tribe is now planning to begin offering Hope & Wellness screenings to its youth, with Sacred Bundle staff providing technical assistance, training, and support for the extension of our work in this area. The remaining three tribal communities are discussing whether or by Shelly Nimocks-Hinshaw not the youth screenings fit with their programs and plans. And still more are in the process of scheduling trainings for Year 2 of the grant project. Outreach activities by Sacred Bundle staff took place every month, I don’t brag about my achievements, but with opportunities to teach, circulate program materials, and network with sometimes you have to make an exception. new partners. On October 30, at Belle Isle Park, Detroit, MI, Creating and maintaining partnerships with organizations is an I checked an event off my bucket list: I did my important piece of building a sustainable suicide prevention program, and first 5k Color Run! Our team, “Vogue for AIHFS was able to establish partnerships during Year 1 with two important Color”, danced, ran, skipped, and boogied to organizations that later co-sponsored events at our center: rave music as we proceeded to make our way along the trails. At each mile marker, we  Youth United, a youth-driven project that is part of Detroit-Wayne were blasted with clouds of pink, yellow, Mental Health invited Sacred Bundle staff to join in a suicide prevention green, or blue from extremely enthusiastic day workshop that included a keynote speech and participation on a volunteers! The island was beautiful and the panel that discussed strength-based approaches and positive atmosphere was energized. And guess what? experiences around surviving thoughts of suicide. A few months later, I did the 5k and received a gold medal! The Youth United was a co-sponsor and program participant for the World coolest part was that the proceeds of the run Suicide Prevention Day event at AIHFS. went to a charity called Six Feet Over  Common Ground Resource and Crisis Center, based in Oakland County and Suck it Suicide. This charity helps break and provider of telephone, chat and text crisis services, partners with the stigma about suicide. This is something AIHFS to provide follow-up contact with youth who participate in the we do every day at AIHFS, so you know this Hope & Wellness Screenings. That partnership not only provides an was a bonus for me. Thank you to my important part of our commitment to continuity of care, but also has “voguing sisters” — Sarah Dayson, Casey resulted in the Crisis Center partnering with us on events. Brant, Tina Louise, Darcy Wyatt, Rosebud Schneider, Stephanie Boyd, Chantel Henry, Through funding that created the Sacred Bundle project, and now and Dasia Rose. We must give a shout out to through round two of funding, AIHFS has sent six people through a training Rachael Bennett, who mobilized the team of trainers for Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST); and five but fell ill. Thanks for the motivation and a through training of trainers for safeTALK. ASIST is a two-day workshop chance to kick something off the bucket list!! aimed at suicide intervention and safe-planning; safeTALK is a 3-hour awareness and skills training that is appropriate for anyone age 15 and older who would like to learn to become alert to the signs of suicide and be able to help others access appropriate assistance. Also available is suicideTALK, a 1-hour program for general audiences that invites communities to begin talking about suicide in ways that are helpful and lay the groundwork for prevention work. If you are interested in taking a training, or in hosting a training for your community or organization, please contact Karen M. Marshall, Outreach and Training Coordinator, at (313) 846=6030, ext. 1404.

Color Run


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Upcoming Community Events Need Help Filing 2015 Income Taxes? Do you make under $62,000? File your 2015 income taxes for free! Simply go to www.aihfs.org and click on the free taxes banner.

If you don’t have internet access at home, AIHFS will have a community computer at our facility with internet access available to clients to prepare your tax returns. It is easy, safe, secure, and 100% Free!

Agency Needs & Wants Support AIHFS by helping with the following: Donations for office supplies (pens, notebooks, etc.), projector, commercial kitchen stove/oven, hygiene items, youth incentives (sports ball, socks, electronics, etc.), infant car seats and booster seats, push toys for toddlers, sand/water table for Healthy Start program playgroups, toddler-sized tables and chairs, child friendly rug for playgroup story time, and traditional medicines to share with community members.

Chi-Miigwetch (Many Thanks) for your support!

Want to learn more about what’s going on at AIHFS? Follow us on the web! facebook.com/aihfs




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How to Support AIHFS! Only with your support can AIHFS continue to try to meet the physical, spiritual, emotional and mental well being needs of Native American families and other underserved populations in Southeastern Michigan. Additionally, as a 501(c)(3), your generous support is tax-deductable.

Won't you make a donation today to help us get closer to meeting these needs? To donate by check or money order, please send payable to:

To donate online: www.aihfs.org/donate.html

American Indian Health & Family Services P.O. Box 810, Dearborn, MI 48121-0810

This Issue’s Native Quote: “Power is not brute force and money; power is in your spirit. Power is in your soul. It is what your ancestors, your old people gave you. Power is in the earth; it is in your relationship to the earth.” - Winona LaDuke Missed this newsletter in your mailbox? Fill this out and be added back on our mailing list! To receive the newsletters, please complete the following form and submit to any AIHFS staff member or


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Clinic Hours: Monday 8:30 - 5:30 p.m. Tuesday 8:30 - 5:30 p.m. Wednesday 11:30 - 8:30 p.m. Thursday 8:30 - 5:30 p.m. Friday 8:30 - 5:30 p.m. Clinic: 313-846-6030

Seeking Board Members! The AIHFS Board of Directors is looking for new members! If you have a passion for the Native Community, Wellness program and services, Accounting, Finance, Development or Fundraising, please consider applying! In order to be considered please submit letter of intent and resume to: American Indian Health and Family Services, ATTN: Nickole Fox PO Box 810, Dearborn, MI 48121 and/or email: nfox@aihfs.org

Here at American Indian Health we offer great care & services for your health care needs. If there is anything we can be more helpful with, please let us know!

Services Provided at AIHFS Medical Services Women's Care Maternal Health Diabetes Health & Education Substance Abuse Counseling Behavioral Health Counseling Dream Seekers Youth Program Tobacco Cessation Native Healthy Start Insurance Enrollments

Health Education & Outreach Immunizations & Flu Shots HIV/AIDS Testing & Referrals Sweat Lodge Community Garden Cooking Classes Annual Events Fitness Classes Visit us at: www.aihfs.org

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AIHFS January thru March 2016 Newsletter  

This is the American Indian Health and Family Services quarterly newsletter covering January through March of 2016.

AIHFS January thru March 2016 Newsletter  

This is the American Indian Health and Family Services quarterly newsletter covering January through March of 2016.