Carmen Fourd (Oglala Lakota)
My name is Carmen Fourd and I am an Oglala Lakota from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. I am happy to be a part of this experience and look forward to learning different ways of living a healthy life. My hopes are that this swim will be the kickstart of a healthier direction in my life. I am very interested in diabetes prevention. Both my parents have been diagnosed with diabetes and my aunt, who is a big part of my life, has been living with it for years. As they have grown older I have witnessed the both the devastating effects of diabetes on my aunt’s health but also the hope of beating this disease with excercise and healthy life choices, as with my father. Being a full blooded Native American I feel particularly susceptible to this disease. My hopes for this trip are that I can learn different ways of incorporating health into my life, wether it be through food, excercise or mental awareness. I plan on teaching these practices to my nieces and nephews, so that they may have a future that is unblighted by diabetes
Tate Locust (Oglala/Lakota/Cherokee)
My name is Tate Locust and I am and Oglala Lakota/Cherokee from the Pine Ridge Reservation. I am an EMT-Basic with the Oglala Sioux Tribe Emergency Medical Services. It disturbs me that a lot of the calls we respond to are diabetes related. It is usually someone who has not taken their insulin or is suffering from some form of non-treatment of diabetes. My grandfather as well as my Hunka (adopted) father suffer from diabetes. Though it is not prevalent in my family, I am hoping to learn some ways that I can teach my patients to live with their diabetes as well as my family. I also hope to bring back some different techniques for cooking so that I may lead a healthy life by example instead of just telling people what they can do.
Steve Yankton (Lakota/Navajo)
Hello Steve Michael Yankton is my name. A/K/A eboo! I’m of Lakota and Navajo descent from the second largest Indian Reservation in the USA, Pine Ridge, South Dakota. I also have family ties in Ship Rock, New Mexico.
I am participating in the Alcatraz Swim because I want to represent my people who are at home, those who cannot swim nor do everyday activities. This is an opportunity of a lifetime to experience this physical, mental, and spiritual challenge the Alcatraz Swim offers. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind to take on this challenge. I believe this experience will open new doors for me to grow as an individual and as a CCHT (Certified Clinical Hemodialysis Technician).
I hope to bring back new ideas such as; ways to eat healthy, exercising daily, and living healthy all together. Also, I hope to gain a greater perspective on the prevention of diabetes, because it can eventually lead to ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease). I would like to bring more information to the people I work with everyday. There has to be a way to help Native Americans and other minority communities live diabetes-free. Living without diabetes can be a reality.
David Tobacco (Oglagla Lakota)
Hello my name is David Tobacco and I am oglala lakota from pine ridge. I recently heard of your program and am extremely interested in participating. I was diagnosed a couple of months ago as being borderline diabedic. Both of my parents were diabetic. My father died of a massive heart attack and my mother of cancer. So i realized i had to make a change in my life and eating habits. So i started a work out regimen and i am trying to eat better but not too sure on the details. I want to participate because it would signify my taking my life back for me and my future. So if its possible i would like to joim you at alcatraz. Thanks doctor iverson. Thanks a lot.
Chrystal White Eyes (Oglala Lakota)
My name is Chrystal White Eyes. My family is from Pine Ridge, SD and I now reside here in the Bay area. I was excited to learn about this event during my Lakota langauage class at the nter Tribal Friendship Hous in Oakland. I am looking forward to participating and the chance to support those, like my oldest brother, who suffer from diabetes. With training and support I feel it will be a rewarding expeience to be a part of welcoming and swimming with Mitakuye’.
Tonja Smith (Rapid City, South Dakota)
Hello. My name is Tonja Smith-Waters from Rapid City, South Dakota. I was cordially invited to partake in this wonderful adventure from the Badlands to Alcatraz by my sister-in-law, Lisa Waters, who swam in 2004 and 2005. I have made it my personal mission to advocate for the health of the Native people for several years now by starting a Native American club at Job Corps, adopting the Red Shirt Table community’s children for Christmas, and advocating for cultural connections for Native youth who were in a residential treatment facilities to name a few. The reference to the medicine wheel is what I will be swimming for. It is through this wheel that I learned about being Wolakota or in Navajo terms, Hozho. It is about overcoming the fears of the unknown and to be healthy emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually. It is through this experience I hope to educate others in taking on challenges in their life like diabetes, suicide, historical trauma, and etc. that plague the Native people. The grey circle in the middle, symbolizes for me, the area in which a person is balanced; it is small and a constant effort to maintain this balance of Wolakota. Thank you. Mitakuye Oyasin.
Odin Peter-Raboff (Gwich’in Athabascan)
My name is Odin Peter-Raboff, I’m a Gwich’in Athabascan from Interior Alaska. The city I live in is called Fairbanks. I live here with my wife, two children and sister in law. To make a living here I run a couple small businesses. One is a small ad agency and the other is a screen printing company. When I’m not working in the city my family and I spend a lot of time on the land. Most of the time when we are on the land we are out to get food. I go out to look for caribou and moose in the fall and winter. In the winter we go ice fishing for lake fish. In the summer we look for birds and also dip net for salmon. In the fall we pick berries. Living off the land is expensive with the high cost of fuel, but my family and I prefer to eat our traditional food. Living in the city makes it easier on us to buy healthy food.