College Introduces Youth to Health Jobs

Nov 15th, 2000 | By | Category: 12-2: Land is Life, Tribal College News

Erica Torcia, age 10, shows her fringed dress and shawl at the fashion show sponsored by Keweenaw Bay Ojibwe Community College.

Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College provided a Community-Based Science Program last summer for youth on the reservation in northern Michigan. It concentrated on four components: health and wellness, science/ecology, culture, and health careers. It is designed to interest tribal youth in higher education at an early age, specifically in the health professions. College personnel provided an overview of the necessary classes students need to take when they reach high school. The youth also had the opportunity to meet health care professionals and ask questions about the various job responsibilities and “how much money they make.” Then the youth were brought to health care facilities to see the doctors, nurses, and technicians at work.

Over 50 students, aged 8-13, participated in the six-week program. Participants took field trips to identify various plant species for traditional and medicinal purposes and to obtain information on fishing, hunting, gathering, water quality, and wildlife preservation.

Health and wellness activities included physical fitness and swimming along with presentations by health staff on tobacco use, nutrition, and wellness. The culture segment included basic Ojibwa language, storytelling, ceremonies, crafts, and a skit. The youth also enjoyed working on their own regalia for the tribe’s pow wow and held a fashion show for the community elders. The program was funded by a $10,000 grant from the University of Minnesota, Center of American Indian and Minority Health.

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