Skip all navigation and go to page content
NN/LM Home About SCR | Contact SCR | Feedback | Help | Bookmark and Share

Archive for the ‘Native Health’ Category

SCR Regional Highlight: America’s First “Climate Refugees”

Thursday, August 11th, 2016

“Isle De Jean Charles” by Karen Apricot
is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Isle De Jean Charles - Blue House

Isle de Jean Charles is a tiny, narrow island deep in the bayous of Louisiana. The single-lane “Island Road” is the only land method of transportation to and from the island but is often impassible during times of high water. It has been the home to the Isle de Jean Charles Band of Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Indians for more than 170 years—but not for much longer.

Coastal erosion, severe storms, rising sea levels, and poor oil extraction practices have caused the island to literally sink into the Gulf of Mexico. Current island residents remember when Isle de Jean Charles was 5 miles wide. But with 98 percent of it lost since 1955, the island is now only a mere 1/4 mile in width. Southern Louisiana as a whole, actually, is the fastest disappearing landmass on earth.

Edison Dardar, one of the current residents, explains in The New York Times’ mini-documentary “Vanishing Island” that he remembers when there were 250, maybe even 300 homes, on the island years ago. Since the hurricanes have scared most families off, there are now maybe 20 left. Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav and Ike severely damaged the infrastructure of the island causing many families to flee.

Since 2010, Chief Albert Naquin and tribal leaders, realizing the island they and their ancestors have called home for almost two centuries won’t be around for much longer, have been trying to create a solution by finding a way to relocate the remaining 77 residents. After working with the Lowlander Center for more than five years, they finally received some good news.

In January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it would grant more than $1 billion in total to 13 communities who have been impacted by major disasters between 2011 and 2013 through the Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience Competition Grant. The grant to assist the community of the Isle de Jean Charles is something new, however. Never before have federal tax dollars been used to relocate an entire community struggling with the effects of climate change. This is a big step for Naquin and island residents — the grant allocates more than $92 million to the state of Louisiana to be split between one other project, the Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments Program.

“Isle De Jean Charles” by Karen Apricot
is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Isle De Jean Charles - Ruined House

Now Naquin and tribal leaders face a new challenge, relocating those residents who still want to stay. Isle de Jean Charles residents have varying views when it comes to resettlement. Some are excited to leave the disappearing island behind; others are afraid they will lose their culture if they move away. While the exact path of resettlement for Isle de Jean Charles is still uncertain, the tribe could relocate as early as 2019.

It’s also important to note that Isle de Jean Charles is not the only community dealing with the consequences of climate change; The New York Times reported that 50 million to 200 million people could be displaced because of climate change by 2050. While Isle de Jean Charles residents may be the first climate refugees, they certainly will not be the last.

To learn more about the Island’s history, visit isledejeancharles.com.

Watch the mini-documentary “Vanishing Island” produced by The New York Times.

To learn more about the Housing and Urban Development’s National Disaster Resilience Competition Grant, please visit hud.gov.

Follow NN/LM SCR on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

Written by Sara Goodwin, NN/LM SCR

Environmental Health Concerns of Native Tribal Communities Webinar

Thursday, December 3rd, 2015

Adapted from atsdr.cdc.gov

The American Public Health Association and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are hosting a webinar on environmental health concerns of Native Tribal communities and how ATSDR effectively supports tribal governments in addressing these concerns Thursday, December 17, 11:30-12:30pm MT, 12:30-1:30pm CT.

This is the fifth and final webinar of a five part series exploring the Agency’s role as an integral partner in: determining chemical threats; supporting communities with their environmental health concerns; protecting children and vulnerable populations; and supporting the specific needs of Native Tribes.

For more information and to register visit: https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/s/registrations/new?cid=xrv3iunvldn5

New Mexico Resource Library: Mid-year Highlights

Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

October 31 was the end of our second fiscal quarter. We are now halfway through the 2015-2016 contract year! Our wonderful New Mexico Resource Library, the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Library & Informatics Center has had a productive outreach year thus far. Just a few of UNM’s outreach activities so far this year include:

  • UNM librarians presented the NN/LM SCR funded project and presentation “Good Information for Good Health: A Collaboration to Educate Unaffiliated Community Health Care Practioners about Patient Information Resources through Online Continuing Education,” at MLA ’15 Librarians Without Limits, May 18, 2015, Austin, TX. Patricia V. Bradley, AHIP, Gale G. Hannigan, AHIP, Eliot Knight, and William F. Rayburn.
  • UNM Outreach Contact Patricia Bradley participates in several regularly scheduled meetings including the Tribal Health Connections-Trusted Information for Native Communities conference call, UNM Hospital’s Health Literacy Task Force, and the Health Science Center Native American Alliance for Community Health and Wellness Group whose mission is “Working together with Southwest Native American Communities and the UNM to create policy in the areas of health care, research, and education to improve health while protecting and respecting traditional values and indigenous wisdom.”
  • UNM has a state-wide service mission and HSLIC maintains a Distance Services webpage that describes the services provided to the state of New Mexico.

National Native American Heritage Month

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2015

The following is a message from National Institutes of Health Director Dr. Francis Collins:

National Native American Heritage Month (NNAHM) is a time to recognize the accomplishments of this country’s first inhabitants.  As the early inhabitants of this great land, the native peoples of North America have their own tribal orientations, language origins, and cultural histories.  Today, many healing techniques that are practiced have been adopted from traditions that originate from various Native American tribes.  This year’s NNAHM theme, “Tribal Diversity: Weaving Together Our Traditions,” highlights spirituality as an inseparable element of healing in medicine.  Healing the physical parts of a patient is not enough; one must acknowledge the importance of emotional wellness, as influenced by Native American rituals and traditions.

This month is dedicated to building new avenues of opportunity for Native Americans by making critical investments to improve health, to strengthen tribal communities, and to promote educational opportunities at the NIH.  Maintaining an inclusive biomedical research workforce with a diversity of talent is critical to the NIH mission of fostering new discoveries and promoting the highest level of scientific integrity to improve our nation’s health.  NNAHM allows the opportunity for every individual to learn more about the distinctive backgrounds and heritages of Native Americans.

I encourage everyone in the NIH community to show their support during National Native American Heritage Month by actively engaging with the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s (EDI’s) social media campaign.  To continue our inclusion efforts, on November 2, we will launch a month-long Twitter campaign (https://twitter.com/NIH_EDI). More information is located on the Strategist for the Native American Portfolio website (http://edi.nih.gov/people/sep/na/about) Together, let’s celebrate the many achievements made by Native Americans.

Sincerely yours,

Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.