Nenana Wellness Coalition


November 27, 2007

The Nenana Wellness Coalition is an alliance of representatives from various organizations, government agencies, community groups and individuals that meets weekly to discuss, evaluate, coordinate, consolidate, celebrate and help implement plans for improving the wellness and quality of life in Nenana Alaska.

We had six participants in meeting this week: Kat McElroy, Mary Alexander, Tim Horn, Bonnie Reed, Miles Martin and Rob Thomason. We had lunch, turkey soup (of course!) provided by Railbelt and sliced apples and nuts brought by Bonnie Reed.

WELCOME: by this week’s chairperson, Tim Horn, followed by the

PRAYER was offered by Kat McElroy, followed by the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIENCE.

PRESENTATION OF AGENDA AND CALL FOR MODIFICATIONS: Miles suggested we visit Neighborhood Watch. Tim asked that we add Health Fair to New Business.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: minutes were submitted electronically by Kat from Miles with no suggestions for changes. Kat also said that she has at long last been able to post WIN minutes to the WIN web-site, hurrah! They can be accessed at:

INTRODUCTION OF GUESTS: Mary Alexander introduced herself. She has been elected to the school board and intends to be a regular participant at WIN.


Our Culture IS Prevention – Kat McElroy showed a DVD she brought back from the Warrior Down training she attended earlier this month is Billings, Montana. She explained that it was one of what the facilitators, White Bison, call The Seven Trainings, which include the Firestarter/Medicine Wheel and 12 steps for men and for women, Daughters of Tradition, Sons of Tradition, and Warrior Down (among others). The DVD is a documentary made on the White Earth reservation and details their local Daughters of Tradition substance abuse prevention program which has seen great success. This DVD is about 30 minutes long and is available to anyone in the community that would like to view it. Kat explained that White Bison material is held under what they term “Indian Copyright” and people are permitted to copy (but not to sell or profit from) their materials. White Bison encourages local people to utilize everything they’ve learned about treatment and prevention within the framework of local values and traditions. Discussion ensued regarding application of Culture AS Prevention to Nenana and ways to get other community members to see the DVD. Tim noted that she was especially impressed by the young people in the DVD who requested that the adults in their community stop providing alcohol to minors. We talked about strengths our community has. This engendered a discussion about our Nenana Dance Group. The student living center has formed a good dance troupe, The Fry Bread Shakers, however they do primarily Yup’ik songs, as it is primarily Yup’ik students and staff involved in the group. Tim outlined some of the challenges the Nenana dance group has struggled with over the years, including changing venues for practice, erratic adult participation, unruly children and concerns that the culture was not being respected. Mary stated that she would like to see the dance group come back into being and that it might work best if it were placed into the hands of the young people. It was agreed that an adult would need to step up to instruct and oversee. Miles suggested that if the dance group became a viable entity again, the Cultural Center might be interested in having public performances in the summer for tourists to be able to share some of our Athabascan culture. We brainstormed to identify adults that may be willing to work with the youth. Mary agreed to inquire of Brian Charlie if he could make himself available for this endeavor. Mary also mentioned that Mitch Dementieff has been working on a program to teach Athabascan language. We also brainstormed ways of getting the DVD into the awareness of a larger portion of the community. Tim encouraged Kat to offer to show it at the school, for instance, to the high school and junior high school health classes. She felt that even fifth and sixth graders could benefit from it. Kat will approach Rob and Keith on this.

Sometimes you have to be the change you want to see.—Mahatma Ghandi

OLD BUSINESS: Miles wonders if anyone has heard from Rita Pierce. He gave Mary some background on the Neighborhood Watch efforts in Nenana. Miles volunteered to ask Jason if the signs (about selling drugs within 500 yards of the school that Rita ordered for the city) have arrived yet, or what the status of these might be.

NEW BUSINESS: Tim would like to have the Health Fair put onto the agenda as we had agreed to explore doing another health fair again this year. Kat will put it on the agenda for next week. It was also agreed that as Christmas and New Year’s both fall on Tuesday this year, we would have no WIN meetings on those two days.

Rob reminded us that there is a school board meeting on December 4th, 6:30 P.M. in the pit at the school. School winter break begins December 21st; students will return on January 8th.

Bonnie reminded us that there will be two school winter concerts: the grade school student’s concert will be the 14th, in the pit. The older students will perform on the 18th, in the gym. Both concerts are at 6 P.M. Tim interjected that our Nenana music students, 7th grade and older, will be participating in a mini-music festival in Healy the afternoon of December 6th. She believes the time is 2 P.M.

The Nenana Seniors are having their Christmas Bazaar Friday, Dec. 7th, from 4-9 P.M. and Saturday, December 8, from 10 A.M. thru 5 P.M., at the Civic Center.

Railbelt is busy working on Operation Ho Ho Ho. The NCPS student council will be doing the angel tree again this year. Railbelt is accepting names for food and gift boxes. Traci has submitted her resignation effective December 31st. The position of Executive Director for Railbelt has been opened and posted. The board will accept applications and make a decision by the end of the year. Rosemary Allen who is our current deputy director has submitted a resume and a letter of interest for the position.

Lastly, Mary announced that December 7th will be Family Movie Night at the school, with two different movies showing, starting at 6:30 P.M. the charge is one dollar per movie, in the pit. This is a fundraiser for the cheerleaders and the school library.

Open floor for comments/questions/discussion:


Next wellness meeting date/time/chairperson/guest/speaker/subjectssp:

Need to put Health Fair onto agenda.

Adjournment: 2:10 P.M.