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I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D. senior staff U.S. National Library of Medicine for Donald Lindberg, M.D, the Director of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Dr. Lindberg recently received a special recognition for fostering education about Native American health and illness at the National Congress of American Indians in Anchorage, Alaska.
A few hours after the ceremony, he opened the exhibition Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness in Alaska at the Dena'ina Center, Anchorage Convention Center. The Native Voices exhibition will travel to five sites in Alaska through winter 2015.
The recognition of Dr. Lindberg's leadership in creating the Native Voices exhibition occurred at the start of the National Congress of American Indian's (NCAI) mid-year conference. The Congress is attended by representatives from many of the 566 federally recognized Native American and Alaska Native tribes and pueblos, as well as some tribes that are recognized by states. Dr. Lindberg received a Native Alaskan wall hanging based on a ceremonial head dress from the Anchorage-based, Southcentral Foundation.
Dr. Lindberg's recognition was one of the Congress' first official acts - and was followed by three days of panels about Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian political, social, and economic issues. Among the NCAI speakers were representatives from the White House, the U.S. Congress, other federal and state agencies, as well as diverse experts from foundations, corporations, and universities.
NCAI's president Brian Cladoosby (from the Swinomish tribe in Washington) and the conference's local host, Lee Stephan (President and First Chief, of the Traditional Tribal Council of Eklutha Village in Alaska) saluted Dr. Lindberg for the more than 100 interviews of Native Americans he conducted from 2008-2014, which are the heart of the Native Voices exhibition.
Tribal leaders and Katherine Gottlieb, the President of the Southcentral Foundation (an award-winning Alaska Native medical center) praised the travel version of the Native Voices exhibition, which many saw for the first time later in the day.
After seeing the exhibition several tribal leaders and visitors said they would encourage wider use of the Native Voices exhibition's site on the Internet and for iPads in area schools and clinics. NLM has a special website for students in grades 6-12 with lesson plans and classroom activities. This is available by typing ‘NLM Native Voices lesson plans’ in most Internet search engines.
Some other NCAI attendees additionally praised the exhibition's and Dr. Lindberg's effort to let Native Americans tell their own stories about health, community, illness, prevention, and related issues. Others praised the emphasis in some interviewees that Native Americans envision health, healing, and happiness as a community and ecologically-based relationship.
Yvette Roubideaux M.D., the Director of the U.S. Indian Health Service, also was an enthusiastic attendee at the exhibition's opening and emphasized the educational value of the Native Voices exhibition. Dr. Roubideaux is one of the more than 100 Native Americans interviewed within the exhibition that features an interactive interface via iPads.
Dr. Lindberg said (and we quote), "This exhibition honors the Native tradition of oral history and establishes a unique collection of information." He added, "We hope visitors will find Native Voices both educational and inspirational and we hope Native people will view it with pride" (end of quote).
As one tribal leader from California noted, the NCAI’s and Southcentral’s recognition suggests Native Voices reached Dr. Lindberg's goals.
Many of the best interviews, photos of some of the exhibition's art and artifacts, as well as other items, are available for free on the Internet. To find it, just type ‘NLM Native Voices’ in any major search engine.
A free iPad app, available in the iPad App Store @ 'NLM Native Voices,' also provides an interactive version of the exhibition.
Access to diverse information about Native American health is available on the ‘Native American Health’ page within MedlinePlus. To find it, just type ‘Native American health’ in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov’s home page.
Alaska is the second location where the Native Voices exhibition has been displayed outside of its home at the National Library of Medicine (NLM) in Bethesda, MD. Another version of the traveling exhibition opened at the Spirit Lake Nation, North Dakota in fall 2013. The exhibition will open at other sites around the U.S. in the future.
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