Eagles, Ravens come together for wellness


Posted: Wednesday, May 09, 2001

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium Health Promotion department is launching its Third Annual Eagle vs. Raven Walk Contest. The contest is designed to promote health by encouraging 30 minutes of daily physical activity and walking per day. The goal of the program is for participants to get at least 30 active minutes of activity a day, in addition to normal day-to-day activities. The walk contest this year is between two teams - Eagles and Ravens - based on the Tlingit kinship structure of Raven and Eagle moieties within the tribe. Teams are made up of 10 members each. Team membership can be made of all Eagles, all Ravens, or a combination of Eagles and Ravens on one team. Team members earn one point for each 30 minutes of physical activity. Team points from the Raven members may be given to the Raven side, and points from the Eagle members may go to the Eagle side. Team captains will keep records and report points to walk coordinator Andrea Ebona-Michel.

This year's event begins on May 15 and ends July 31. To kick off the 11-week challenge, an opening ceremony will be held at Centennial Hall during the noon hour on Tuesday, May 15. Tlingit elder Walter Soboleff will deliver the keynote speech; Juneau Rep. Beth Kerttula is scheduled to read Gov. Tony Knowles' proclamation; and Native dance group "Yaaw Tei Yi" will perform.

Since 1999, Juneau's Eagle-Raven Walk has involved more than 700 people in healthy activities. The SEARHC Health Promotion department developed this walk contest based on the success of a similar challenge held in the village of Klukwan in 1998. The target group of the challenge is Alaska Natives living in Juneau, but anyone who is interested is encouraged to participate.

"This year, only activities which take place outside of home, work and school will count," said coordinator Ebona-Michel. "Every 30 minutes of physical activity that gets your heart rate up and causes you to perspire equals one point. Activities include walking, swimming, working out in the gym, running, soccer, basketball and other team sports, canoeing, kayaking, bicycling, jumping rope; children's games like tag, dodge ball, hopscotch; Native dancing and drumming; hiking, gardening, mowing, raking, rotating soil by hand, pulling weeds, picking up rocks, chopping wood and house painting."

Prizes will be given throughout the 2 1/2-month project, including the grand prize of a hand-carved Tlingit canoe paddle with an engraved plaque listing the winning team.

"We're hoping grandparents, grandchildren, aunties and uncles will all participate on our teams of 10 people," Ebona-Michel said.

The winning team will be honored at an awards banquet on Aug. 11.

Participants must sign up on or before May 31. To register or for more information, contact Andrea Ebona-Michel at SEARHC at 463-5850.

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