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Native Art to Illuminate Circle of Life

March 2, 2010

PIERRE, S.D. - The Circle of Life is a program, developed by the American Cancer Society and a group of Native American volunteers, to bring educational cancer programs to tribal communities across the country.

Roberta Cahill, a program specialist with the Cancer Society in Pierre and involved in the program, says the Circle of Life started as a program about breast cancer.

"It's been determined by Native people through out the country that we needed something more than just breast cancer awareness. So the new project will actually be more inclusive of other cancers, and it will include more than just an awareness."

To expand the outreach, a national call for artwork is underway. Cahill says any type of Native art will be accepted, from photographs to paintings to bead-work or pottery.

"Individuals who will be utilizing the curriculum basically will be able to regionalize as appropriate. And we know that as more people come into the education piece, they will be wanting something that will be appropriate for them."

She says the expanded program will work with a person's entire well-being.

"We will be looking at nutrition, physical activity, traditional healing, hospice, and it will just be something that will be more of a holistic approach."

Cahill says the Circle of Life program is now in its second year, and is planned to go on at least three more years.


Jerry Oster, Public News Service - SD