The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has made national news, as NPR reports that the tribe’s developed an innovative “Powwow Sweat” program that promotes fitness through traditional dance. The program features a series of workout videos that break down six traditional tribal dances, including the “Jingle Dress” dance, the Men’s Fancy Dance, and the Crow Hop, into step-by-step exercise routines.
The program, developed with a federal grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is one of an array of efforts the tribe has under way to improve its members’ health and incorporate tribal culture into efforts to promote fitness and reduce incidence of heart disease and obesity.
LoVina Louie, director of the tribe's wellness center, told NPR that mainstream fitness and nutrition programs don't meet the needs of tribal members. “What they lack is spirituality,” she said. “Most programming is only physical, or it's only nutrition. It's in these compartments, whereas we're more holistic. We want to incorporate the mind, body and spirit into what we do.”
Tribal member Ryan Ortivez, who attends weekly “Powwow Sweat” classes at the Coeur d'Alene Wellness Center in Plummer, said he’s already lost more than 13 pounds. “It's a lot more attractive than doing jogging or the bicycle for me, because it also relates to my culture,” he said.
You can see NPR’s full report online here.