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Mixing in Kids, Tradition, Round Dancing for a Healthier Future

NB3FIT Week 2018

On Friday, November 9, 128 children participated in traditional Native round dancing in celebration of NB3FIT Week (November 5-12, 2018). They joined thousands of other youths across the nation in this annual program through the Notah Begay III Foundation.

Each year, the goal is to get kids across Indian country MOVING. It’s pretty simple. Native-led organizations, businesses, urban Indian centers, schools and groups were asked to host a physical activity, fitness and/or health awareness event during this week.

The round dancing took place about 35 miles east of Reno, at Natchez Elementary School, Wadsworth, NV, with the majority of students being Native American.

Why round dancing?

Janet Davis, Coordinator for Tribal Recreation, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, has spearheaded this annual event for the last three years. This year, with the brainstorming of Shawn Pancho, Tribal Recreation Assistant, they came up with the idea to show that you can combine exercise with tradition.

According to Carla Eben, Numaga Elders Program Director, “Round dancing is very inclusive; there is no competition like you see at Pow Wows. It’s more social; it’s universal; it’s what we do at gatherings and can last for hours. This is a way for us to keep the tradition alive.”

Raver’s Deana Scott and Gency Warren danced with the kids for an hour (there were two groups of students that danced for 30-minutes each). You can see their earnest dance moves in the video below.

Janet chose this activity because it was, “Unique, it reflects our Native American lifestyle and the kids can relate to it.”

How NB3FIT Week helps ...

This week-long initiative is geared to show kids that moving is fun. To show communities how to easily integrate more physical activity. To inspire kids that may not particularly enjoy fitness that it can be fun. Because Native Americans are at risk and change can start by something as simple as an activity at NB3FIT Week.

Throughout the country a variety of activities were held – from fun runs/walks and basketball clinics to health and fitness workshops and all inclusive family events. Check out the videos on NB3F’s Facebook page to see kids in action.

How has NB3Fit week impacted Janet’s kids? She shared, “Since getting involved in NB3Fit Week, I’ve noticed that kids are more aware of their health,” and she’s committed to doing an event every year.

The sobering facts:

  • One out of two Native children born since 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity is the leading contributing factor to type 2 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes may reduce a child’s life expectancy by 27 years
  • 81% of Native adults are overweight or obese and 45% of 2-5 year olds are overweight
  • Death rate of Native Americans with diabetes is three times higher than the general U.S. population

For more information on NB3F or getting involved in the 2019 weeklong event, contact Cyanne Lujan at [email protected] or 505-867-0775 ext. 101 for more information today.

Raving holds several fundraising events each year for NB3F, including the upcoming Comedy Slam, during NIGA. For more information contact Gency Warren [email protected].