Monday March 12th
Tonight, we were in America – or at least what Ben Dropkin thought to be most of it. We drove through Choppowa national forests and saw two eagles and 2 white herrens.
We partook in the culture of the quintessential Midwest, as represented by the taste of Golden Light. Ultimately, we chose to go to applebee’s, expecting an outrageously large quantity of food, at an outrageously low price. This is what we found.
Our neighbors of twenty-odd students from Bemidji State University celebrated the wonderous occasion of the birthday of a colleague with the killer deal of five-dollars of burgers, wings, or pitchers. Maybe not, but that’s what we did. Now the four of us are back at the super 8 motel room, being thankful for our lives in Hanover. Room 123.
We started the day with a tour of the minoayawin clinic and had a chance to speak with health workers about the health care state of the area and the strives they have made since their establishment in the 1980’s. The program had some very innovative treatments, including brain wave synchronization therapy. We had the chance to listen to presentations by the local diabetes and lifestyle health care specialist about the prevalence of diabetes and obesity affecting the local tribe members, as well as the from the clinic managers about the epidemiology of Native Americans. It was a very productive and informative session for everyone, and we have gained new-found respect for the local health care providers for the difficulties they have to overcome on a daily-basis.
After grabbing a quick bite at Erbert’s and Gerbert’s, we headed to the Ojibwe school that teaches grades k through 12. We were given a tour of the school by a crew of high school students and their mentors, and a few us even got a chance to be interviewed by the school radio station. We spent the first part of the afternoon giving a talk on synthetic marijuana, and another on how to go about getting to college; subsequently, we divided into 4 groups, and gave fun presentations on cells and muscles to the kids from grades 5 to 8. We even got a chance to do some fun physical examination bits, listening to the heart, tapping for knee reflexes, and what not.
Meanwhile, a few students took a observatory trip to the local substance abuse center called Mash-Ka-Wisen; a treatment center owned and operated by Native Americans that uses cultural practices in the treatment of chemical dependency.