The American Indian Cancer Foundation honors Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Indigenous Pink.
And, legislation has been re-introduced that seeks healing for stolen Native children and their communities by establishing a commission to investigate the federal government’s Indian Boarding School Policies.
Here’s Leah Lemm with these stories…
STORY #1: INDIGENOUS PINK
Indigenous Pink Day is honored this year on October 21st. It’s a day during Breast Cancer Awareness month to look at cancer diagnosis and cancer rates and what are those disparities within tribal communities.
The American Indian Cancer Foundation, located in Minneapolis, is a national nonprofit whose goal is to reclaim Indigenous health and heal with culture. The mission is to alleviate the cancer burdens of Indigenous people through improved access to prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivor support.
Melissa Buffalo is the Chief Executive Officer with the American Indian Cancer Foundation.
“Indigenous Pink is a day that we recognize and raise awareness on the importance of preventative cancer screenings. You know, how can we educate, bring knowledge towards tribal communities and just as well as highlighting our survivors of breast cancer,” said Buffalo.
There are plenty of resources available at the American Indian Cancer Foundation’s website, including the Cancer Burden Booklet. And the statistics when it comes to cancer burden shows a growing disparity for American Indians.
“It shows that although the rates for white Americans have decreased cancer, death rates have decreased over the last 20 years, unfortunately for American Indians that has only gone up,” said Buffalo.
Indigenous Pink Day aims to educate Native communities about the importance of early detection, and remind everyone to talk to their doctors about breast cancer screening. The American Indian Cancer Foundation is holding the event virtually.
“Folks can get involved, whether you’re in Minnesota or you’re joining us from Alaska or a different part of the United States.. You can join us on social media. We are active on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, you know, using the hast hashtags or searching the hashtag indigenous pink cancer screening saves lives and then get screened and really, you know, using that data, honor those relatives and friends who have been impacted by a breast cancer diagnosis and who are survivors, or even those that we have lost. You can wear pink on that day to raise awareness of breast cancer in your community,” said Buffalo.
Find more at American indian cancer DOT org and on their social media pages.
STORY #2: FEDERAL GOVT SIGNALS IT IS READY TO ACKNOWLEDGE IMPACTS OF BOARDING SCHOOL ERA
Next, Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Native American Caucus, Congresswoman Sharice Davids and Congressman Tom Cole, have reintroduced legislation that seeks healing for stolen Native children and their communities.
The Truth and Healing Commission on Indian Boarding School Policies in the United States Act was originally introduced last year with then-Congresswoman Deb Haaland, who is now the Secretary of the Interior.
This bill would establish a formal commission to investigate and reveal past injustices of the federal government’s Indian Boarding School Policies, including policies and actions attempting to terminate Native cultures, religions, and languages through assimilation practices, human rights violations, and more.
Additionally, recommendations would be developed for Congress to aid in healing of the trauma passed down in Native families and communities and provide a forum for victims to speak about their related experiences.
The National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition (NABS) in Minneapolis supports the introduction of the bill and has communicated that it’s a signal from the federal government that it’s ready to acknowledge the destructive impacts of the boarding school era.
Leah Lemm reporting for Minnesota Native News
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