Last fall, a group of Native Americans from all over the country congregated in the Bay Area to participate in an annual swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco.
In the week leading up to the big event, the group headed out for practice swims at in the early morning and spent the afternoon visiting several sites in the Bay Area related to public health and wellness.
The program was sponsored by PATHSTAR, an organization focused on promoting sustainable health and wellness among Native Americans through hands-on education and experiential learning.
Founded by Nancy Iverson, a physician who worked on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota for many years, PATHSTAR encourages active lifestyle and healthy nutrition practices as strategies to prevent diabetes and other diseases in Indian country.
The group spent an October afternoon in Pescadero (south of Half Moon Bay) harvesting produce from Addwater Farm to sell at the . The group then worked with Addwater Farms' Brian Coltrin to prepare the produce for market sale.
Participants say they hope to pass on what they learned to community members back home, while Coltrin says he hopes to continue working with individuals at the Pine Ridge Reservation.
Coltrin was approached to participate in the program through Iverson, who is a regular customer of his at a farmer's market in San Francisco.
Individuals who participated in the 2011 swim and PATHSTAR program are:
From Richmond, Calif.
Zolina Zizi (Cheyenne, Arkiara, Creek)
From Pine Ridge, S. Dak. (Lakota)
Chrystal White Eyes
Jeffery Not Help Him
Martin White Hawk
From Ketchikan, Alaska (Ketchikan Indian Community)
Ruth E Pechay (Tlingit and Haida)
Anitamarie Pechay Seludo (Tlingit and Haida)
Bill Hardy, Ketchikan, Alaska
From Inchelium, WA (Colville Federated Tribes)
Shelli Martinez, Okanogan Band
Jerry Signor, Coville Federated Tribes