Onion Lake Cree Nation’s Urban Poling Group

Nordic Walking with Vera Cardinal

Vera Cardinal, my friend and former participant of Women Warriors is starting her own urban poling group on reserve. Planned start date is Monday, October 29th. Free to join – the urban poles are provided and include a free pedometer.

Last Tuesday, October 16th Dr. Sonja Wicklum and I went to Onion Lake early so that I could instruct Vera Cardinal on how to urban pole (also known as Nordic Walking). She was interested in joining the Women Warriors program, but due to time constraints could not commit to every Tuesday evening. She is a busy mom of five children, ages 14, 13, 11, 9 and 1 and a soon-to-be Mom of six in February! She is also a full-time employee at Native Justice.

She told me she wanted to get more active and commit to healthy eating for her sixth pregnancy because of weight gain and edema (fluid retention in her hands and feet) during her last pregnancy. In addition, she stated on a social media post, “I felt my self-esteem go down and I hated how I looked. I have a body type that easily puts on weight. It’s a journey for me and at times it’s hard but I’m glad I’m choosing to live a healthier lifestyle. As much as I put my children first I have to put my myself there too. Self-love is a journey and I’m willing to reach my goals no matter how long it takes.”

Vera decided to commit to a 30-day challenge: 30 minutes of daily activity and an increase in fruits and vegetables. I even talked her into trying hummus, but she didn’t appreciate the flavor I recommended; there is always a trial and error process with new foods.

She posted on facebook about her healthy eating journey, “Ever since I gave up chips, potatoes, pasta, ice cream, fast food, fried foods, chocolate, white bread, soda pop, juice, cakes, donuts, cookies, and candy my energy has been way up more than before. I feel good about more things – I don’t feel bloated after I eat. I even feel good in my thoughts.”

Within one week, and at 24 weeks pregnant she lost six pounds from healthy eating and 30 minutes of urban poling walks per day. I want to highlight that Vera’s medical doctor is fully aware of her healthy lifestyle challenge and on her last visit she posted that, “The Dr. is happy that I’m eating better and doing the challenge.”

Vera’s social media posts about her health journey and her daily urban poling sessions started to peak the interest of women in her community. When she messaged me to state, “I have some ladies interested in the walking club too” I was proud of her efforts and excited about her forming her own group.

Vera’s advertisement for her urban poling group states, “We are here to encourage one another to promote healthy lifestyles. To help prevent diabetes and also other sickness and diseases that are common within our First Nations communities. We can all work together to help take care of each other. Please message me if you are interested. I have a set of 10 poles and I can teach you all how to use them.”

My additional comments to her post include, “Urban poling is a great way to improve posture, strengthen your core, burn 20-40% more calories and gain arm tone. A great exercise for all levels from beginner to advanced. The poles are provided. Includes free pedometers, and an incentive of a Women Warriors t-shirt for the first person to reach 10, 000 steps. Socialize and get in shape!”

To join Vera’s urban poling group please instant message her on facebook: Vera Lynn Cardinal. I will be joining the first class to make certain everyone has the right technique and answer any questions about urban poling. If you are interested in purchasing your own urban poles please contact me: Shelley@womenwarriors.club.

Our instructor of Bootcamp last week, Rita (right) posted on social media: I coached the #WomenWarriors tonight… love the strength and power they bring…I have to give props to this little Woman Warrior!! She totally killed the workout….pushed all the way through… her T push-ups were on fire!

 

Women Warriors Calgary April/May graduating class.
This past Wednesday, October 24th we had a meeting with City of Calgary Village Square Leisure Centre social worker, Jody Forbes, and Aboriginal Community social worker, Bev Renaud. We are excited to announce that the Women Warriors program will be expanding to a second location this coming January. The two locations will be Village Square and the new site of Forest Lawn Hub. Details to follow.

 

Women Warriors Calgary (April-May 2018) – Sharing Circle with participants.

 

My friend, Jannica (right), a woman with many titles including a documentary filmmaker, and I are planning a project together about the importance of digital health services in Saskatchewan as the closure of Greyhound bus routes in rural areas leave marginalized and vulnerable Indigenous people unable to access healthcare services. She is attending the 2018 Infoway Partnership Conference taking place November 13-14, 2018 in Montreal, Quebec. The conference takes place during Digital Health Week (November 12-18, 2018) which celebrates the difference digital health is making in the lives of Canadians.

 

On my last visit to Calgary for the ARP meeting in Siksika on October 11th and 12th, I had the pleasure of visiting Dr. Micheal Lickers and Dr. Jennifer Leason. I want to thank them for inspiring me with their story of mentorship and always encouraging me to pursue my passion for Indigenous women’s health to it’s fullest expression. In this photo Michael is showing Jennifer his bound PhD dissertation.

 


Next week’s newsletter is special guest writer and editor, Rhonda Kronyk. I met her at the Edmonton Writing Stick conference June 2017 and we have kept in contact through Twitter. I asked her to write a piece pertaining to Indigenous women’s health and she replied:

I personally haven’t had any issues. But if you’re interested in a side story that is related…

I’m an editor who specializes in working with Indigenous stories. A colleague recently asked me to review parts of a manuscript she was editing by a Calgary doctor that was going to be published in a Canadian journal. I was shocked when I read the excerpts she sent me. The writing used stereotypes of Indigenous people who wouldn’t seek out health care or listen to medical advice. He embodied systemic racism in medical care in almost every sentence my friend sent me. I could tie that in with news stories about Indigenous people being ignored in health care. Add to that the fact that women’s issues are often not taken seriously and Indigenous women face a double whammy.

I’m currently trying to revive the Indigenous Editor’s Circle for exactly this reason – until Indigenous people are involved in more aspects of publishing, this kind of writing will continue to fill popular books and academic books and journals.