Native American Health Center Grant Presented During Healing the Earth Powwow

Native American Health Center Grant Presented During Healing the Earth Powwow
President Suzuki accepts a check for $49,738. during the Healing the Earth Powwow.

Jim Greensweight makes adjustments to his teepee before the Healing the Earth Powwow.

The California Endowment has awarded the Cal Poly Pomona Foundation a $49,738 grant to help the Costanoan Rumsen Carmel Tribe investigate the feasibility of creating a health and wellness center for Native Americans living in Los Angeles County. This project is part of a long-standing partnership between the university and local Native American communities.

A check was presented Nov. 15 during the opening day ceremony of the Healing the Earth Powwow held on Cal Poly Pomona?s soccer field. Tribal Chairman Tony Cerda joined President Suzuki in accepting the check from James Lam, an associate of the California Endowment program.

?We hope this will be the first step in developing better help for Native Americans in the Los Angeles area,? says President Suzuki. ?I look forward to developing a long and stronger relationship with the tribe. I am a firm believer in the importance of diversity, and I?m sure this partnership will enable the university to become more effective at recruiting and admitting additional Native American students to this campus.?

Cerda says it feels good to know the university is supportive of his tribe.

?This grant means a lot because all of our people are below the poverty level income and we need all the help that we can get to stay healthy,? he says.

The California Endowment is a private foundation that seeks to expand health care access to the state?s underserved communities. Endowment officials say this project is an important investment because there are few resources in Southern California targeted to meet the needs of the Native American communities.

?We can see there is a lot of commitment to this project from both the university and the tribe,? says Lam.
Chemistry professor Barbara Burke, who is in charge of the Science Education Enhancement Services Program, says the planning grant will allow the group to conduct a health-needs assessment.

The Healing the Earth Powwow, held in recognition of Native American Heritage Month, featured inter-tribal dancing, exhibition dancing, face painting, a teepee village, arts and crafts vendors, American Indian food and children?s activities. The three-day event was co-sponsored by The Native American Powwow Committee, Native American Outreach Committee, Native American Student Center, Red Nation Student Alliance, Science Educational Enhancement Services and Office of Student Life and Cultural Centers.