Native American Heritage Celebration

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November 3 – 29, 2010

Exhibit: Oregon Is Indian Country: The Land, Federal Indian Policies and Traditions that Bind

Description: The Oregon Historical Society traveling exhibit, entitled Oregon Is Indian Country, provides text and historical and contemporary photographs about the nine federally recognized tribes of Oregon.

The Land examines the ways the physical environment has and continues to influence tribal cultures.  It looks at uses of natural resources and the enduring ties that tribes have with the land. Federal Indian Policies explores policies that changed lives since the first official exploration by the U.S. government into the territory by Lewis & Clark in 1805. This section helps the public to better understand the complexities of current issues affecting Indian Country through an examination of significant historical events and policies such as sovereignty, treaties, the reservations system, termination, and restoration. Traditions that Bind investigates the rich cultural heritage of Oregon’s tribes, including their oral traditions, material culture, art, and traditional lifeways. Many American Indian traditions are experiencing a revival via the traditional passage from one generation to the next as well as through research of oral recordings and historic documents. This section highlights ceremony and tradition, language, and how traditions are important in the survival of people and their cultures.


November 8, 2010

Presentation: A broader understanding of Native health: A social determinants approach

Presenter: Roger Dale Walker, M.D., professor, Departments of Psychiatry and Public Health and Preventive Medicine; director, Center for American Indian Health, Education and Research; director, One Sky Center: National Native Mental Health Addictions Resource Center, OHSU

Description: The health status for American Indian and Alaskan Natives is well documented to be far below that of the general population of the United States. The morbidity and mortality for chronic illnesses in this special population is especially recognized as problematic. Behavioral health problems such as depression, anxiety, addictions, suicide, and family disruption are all seen as health concerns when examined across all tribes. The ability to provide access to adequate, culturally sensitive, evidence based care in this era of health reform and economic crisis is especially challenging. World-wide, the most recognized approach to address these issues is the public health movement with special attention to social determinates of health.

Social determinants are defined as how and where we live, learn, work and play through our life. This presentation reviews the chronic illness issues of Native populations and examines how social determinants can assist in rethinking health care delivery in Native communities.

Presenter Biography: R. Dale Walker, M.D., (Cherokee from Oklahoma) is professor of Psychiatry and Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University. He is director of the One Sky Center, a National Resource Center for American Indian Health, Education and Research. This center provides expert consultation, training, and technical assistance that facilitate strategic planning and leadership development for optimal health service delivery for tribes and Native communities across North America.  A graduate of the University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine, with residency training in psychiatry at the University of California, School of Medicine in San Diego, his career includes numerous research grants, scientific publications, and national presentations related specifically to social determinates of health and behavioral health in Indian Country. He has held numerous national leadership roles in relation to these issues and now serves as the president of the Association of American Indian Physicians. He is an advocate for quality medical and mental health services for American Indian people. These advocacy efforts include mentorship for health care workers from all disciplines, state and federal policy makers and Tribal Government leaders.



November 11, 2010

Presentation: Making the invisible visible: Portland’s Native American community

Presenter: Nichole Maher, M.P.H., executive director, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA)

Description: Portland has the ninth largest Native American population in the United States. They live here, and they thrive here. They are numerous. The Portland urban Native community is descended from over 380 tribes and many of them are multi-tribal and multi-ethnic. They represent varying degrees of tribal affiliation: some of them are tribally enrolled, and some of them are not, but they all have ancestral ties to their tribes. Some of them are enrolled members of local tribes with reserved treaty rights to fish and gather in the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, but many of them are members of descendants of more distant tribes. They come to this city for as many reasons as there are clans and people, and their stories are powerful.

Presenter Biography: Nichole Maher, M.P.H., executive director, Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), graduated cum laude from Oregon State University with a degree in public health and American Indian studies. She also holds a master degree in public health (administration and policy), from the Mark Hatfield School of Government at Portland State University and Oregon Health Sciences University. Maher has over 10 years experience in planning and implementing culturally specific education, housing, and poverty reduction programs with the AI/AN population. She also has experience with diverse funding sources—including foundations, state, county, federal, and tribal contracts.

In addition to her administrative experience, Maher completed a national medical research project at the Harvard Medical School, the Minority Medical Education Program at Yale Medical School, and a research study on Alaskan Native and Hawaiian Native learning styles with a McNair fellowship. She serves on the Portland Schools Foundation Board, the Portland Parks and Recreation Board, and the National Urban Indian Family Center Coalition Board. Maher is a member of the Tlingit and Haida Central Council of South East Alaska. She was born in Ketchikan, Alaska, and attended school on the Siletz reservation of Oregon.



November 12, 2010

Presentation: State of Indian health: Review of health system and health status on American Indians and Alaska Natives

Presenter: Joe Finkbonner, R.Ph., M.H.A., executive director, Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board

Description: This presentation will describe the system for delivering health care to American Indians and the foundation for its existence. During this lecture some of the disparities that burden the American Indian population will be reviewed.

Presenter Biography: Joe Finkbonner, R.Ph., M.H.A., is the executive director of Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board (NPAIHB). Prior to his current position, Finkbonner was the director of the Northwest Tribal Epidemiology Center (The EpiCenter) at the NPAIHB. The EpiCenter is one of 12 epidemiology centers nationally that focuses specifically on American Indian/Alaska Native health status. Finkbonner began his work in Indian health for the Lummi Tribe as the health director/CEO and was very active at State and Federal levels in his efforts to heighten the awareness of disparities of the AI/AN population and to assist with focusing action toward improving the health status through policy development. Finkbonner’s efforts were through his membership on the Washington State Board of Health, participation in the Washington Public Health Improvement Plan, and miscellaneous workgroups for the Indian Health Service.

Finkbonner began his work in health care delivery as a pharmacist at Providence Medical Center in Seattle and Overlake Medical Center in Bellevue. Joe holds a masters of health administration and a bachelor of science in pharmacy both from University of Washington. Finkbonner is a member of Lummi Nation. Finkbonner is a member of the clinical faculty at the University of Washington and Oregon Health & Sciences University. In addition Finkbonner is a site reviewer for the Public Health Accreditation Board to assess public health system competencies of Tribal, State, and Local Health Jurisdictions.