Char-Koosta News

The Official Publication of the Flathead Nation online

February 17, 2011

Walking the Rez kicks off 6th season with ECS students

By B.L. Azure

Margene Asay explains Walking The Rez and healthy lifestyles to the Early Childhood Services students in St. Ignatius to kick-off the 6th annual Walking The Rez event. (B.L. Azure photo)
Margene Asay explains Walking The Rez and healthy lifestyles to the Early Childhood Services students in St. Ignatius to kick-off the 6th annual Walking The Rez event. (B.L. Azure photo)

ST. IGNATIUS — The 6th annual Walking the Rez health and fitness activity event kicked off Valentines Day with an opening recruitment salvo at the St. Ignatius Early Childhood Services center. Walking the Rez is a Tribal Health and Human Services healthy lifestyle and fitness event that goes from Valentine’s Day to Mothers Day each year.

The goal is to get as many Flathead Indian Reservation residents, regardless of race and age, involved in healthy activities. This is the second year that ECS students have been involved in the event.

Margene Asay, tribal fitness centers manager and Lance Hawkins of the St. Ignatius tribal fitness center, made a presentation to the students and staff at the ECS center and brought a container full of exercise goodies for the youngsters.

Asay, using a map of the Flathead Reservation, showed the students the hypothetical reservation route that walkers take. However, they don’t actually walk along the highways, she explained but they do walk the miles the route depicts on the map. Instead participants walk wherever they want, in high school gyms or along roadways, at fitness centers. They keep track of the miles either by time, pedometer reading or walking track distances. The goal to walk at least 200 miles, the amount of miles it takes to walk the reservation roadway route on the WTR map.

The St. Ignatius ECS students learned how to communicate without speaking from Margene Asay Monday. (B.L. Azure photo)
The St. Ignatius ECS students learned how to communicate without speaking from Margene Asay Monday. (B.L. Azure photo)

“We do it this way because walking along the highway is too dangerous,” Asay told the students. “Your teachers will help you, make sure you walk for 30 minutes a day here.”

After getting the youngsters all fired up, Asay asked them, “Are you going to Walk the Rez?”

“Yes,” was the enthusiastic answer.

M’Lissa McElderry, manager of the St. Ignatius ECS, told the students they would began walking that afternoon at the Elders Park walking track.

Lance Hawkins of the St. Ignatius Tribal Fitness Center presents M'Lissa McElderry, St. Ignatius ECS manager with a container of activity producing toys for the students. (B.L. Azure photo)
Lance Hawkins of the St. Ignatius Tribal Fitness Center presents M'Lissa McElderry, St. Ignatius ECS manager with a container of activity producing toys for the students. (B.L. Azure photo)

Each of the Early Childhood Services centers on the Flathead Reservation will be presented with a storage container filled with activity inducing toys, games and equipment.

“It takes about 2,100 steps to equal a mile. We promote 10,000 steps per day; that is about five miles a day. The 12 weeks of Walking The Rez makes the 200 miles very achievable,” Asay said. “Our goal is to get everyone out walking or doing fitness that they did not do last week or last month. We hope once they start doing daily fitness activities, that they will continue through the year.”

Last year approximately 200 ECS students and teachers participated. This year the NÂusm Salish Language Immersion School students will participate for the first time.

“This year the participant needs to log in 30 minutes of fitness activity for the first two weeks and call in each Monday,” Asay said. “After they have completed and committed to the two weeks, they will receive a pedometer to log their steps.”

For more information, contact Margene Asay at 745-3525, ext. 5072, or visit the tribal fitness centers in Arlee, St. Ignatius, Ronan and Elmo.

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