Red Letter Day!

Red Letter Day!
(Jason Salsman/Multimedia Producer) The American Heart Association teamed with Muscogee (Creek) Nation to hold the ‘Go Red for Native Women’ Heart Health Summit in Glenpool.

Jason Salsman/Multimedia Producer

‘Go Red for Native Women’ held at Glenpool Conference Center

GLENPOOL, Oklahoma — The American Heart Association partnered with Muscogee (Creek) Nation for the second consecutive year to bring the 2019 ‘Go Red for Native Women’ Heart Health Summit to the Glenpool Conference Center on Feb. 7.

Regional Director for Native Initiatives at the American Heart Association, Rachel Crawford said AHA efforts in the ‘Go Red’ campaign are crucial.

“What we know is that cardiovascular disease impacts women at a high rate…it’s the number one killer of women across the board,” she said.

Through events like the summit, the AHA’s Native Initiative office is dedicated to combating the high number of cases in Native communities with information and education.

“We know that heart disease disproportionately impacts our Native communities as well, specifically women,” Crawford said. “It’s really important that we bring our tribal folks in an inter-tribal setting such as this, so they can take information back.”

The day’s activities featured plenty of information with health screenings, interactive sessions, and presenters all dedicated to sharing ways to strengthen and maintain heart health awareness.

But there was also room for some fun, and style too, with a ‘Go Red’ fashion show.

Jr. Miss Muscogee (Creek) Nation Louisa Mya Harjo has always been into fashion, so the opportunity to showcase her passion and talent was one she could not pass up.

“Ever since I was seven, I’ve wanted to be a fashion designer,” Harjo said. “So I was excited when they asked me to be a part of it.”

For Harjo, who will also design for a fashion show this March in Denver, it was a chance to showcase an item of clothing very special to her.

“For this event, I brought my red skirt, with pictures all around it of my family and friends,” she said. “In all the pictures they are showcasing their pride in culture and wellness.”

Crawford said since beginning her work in 2014, the focus has been getting the brand of the AHA into tribal communities. Being Wichita herself, she recognizes the meaningful aspect of the work.

“Through our programming, I’ve been able to work across a six-state affiliate to really double down on our efforts to make this a Native-led operation,” she said.

The summit also looked to bring together different perspectives within a community setting, with an inter-generational panel.

“We want different people from different perspectives asking, ‘what is health?’ and ‘what does it look like in our communities,’ ‘what are our priorities?’,” Crawford said. “And ‘what can we do better, how can we be better in improving the health outcomes of our Native folks?’”

For more information on the ‘Go Red for Women’ movement or to donate, visit www.goredforwomen.org.

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