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AUGUST 22, 2009 • ISSUE 47

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Joe A. Garcia, President, National Congress of American Indians


Kevin Skenandore, Acting Director, Bureau of Indian Education


Lucille Echohawk, Strategic Advisor Casey Family Programs


Robert Cook, President, National Indian Education Association

MUM Hosts American
Indian Conference

Leaders of American Indian tribes around the U.S. will gather on campus for an international conference to be held from September 25 to 27. The conference, entitled “Building Healthy, Sustainable American Indian Communities,” will showcase Consciousness-BasedSM education, prevention-oriented health care, renewable energy, organic agriculture, and cultural preservation.

Researchers will also present the results of several controlled studies on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation® technique for reducing acute stress and behavioral problems among hundreds of at-risk American Indian youth at the Winnebago (Nebraska), Pine Ridge (South Dakota), and Passamaquoddy (Maine) reservations. Findings show the TM® technique promoted higher scores on standardized state tests of mathematics and reading, 25 percent less absenteeism, and 30 percent higher graduation rates among the meditating young people compared to controls.

“The timing is perfect for this conference because the need is so great among the tribes,” said John Boncheff, who is co-director of the TM program at the Winnebago reservation. “The TM technique is not only helping students perform better in school, but it is also helping both adults and children to overcome the terrible epidemic of diabetes, which strikes up to 80 percent of all American Indians. Even more than that, the TM technique is helping American Indians to reconnect with their spiritual heritage. It is helping to save their lives and their culture.”

Conference speakers include: Joe A. Garcia, President of the National Congress of American Indians; Robert Cook, President of the National Indian Education Association; Lucille Echohawk, strategic advisor for the Casey Family Programs; and Kevin Skenandore, Acting Director of the Bureau of Indian Education.

Conference hosts and participants include the Indian Health Services (IHS), National Congress of American Indians (NCAI), National Indian Education Association (NIEA), Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), Winnebago Tribal Health Services (WTHS), Winnebago Treaty Hospital–IHS, David Lynch Foundation, and Hocak Elders Council, Inc.

Click here to view a short video on the Transcendental Meditation technique, cultural tradition, and diabetes.

Conference information and registration

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