There’s a choice – sugary drinks in ugly containers that put you at risk for chronic diseases, or clear, refreshing water that makes you healthier in a cool cup of your choice.
That’s the challenge healthy drinking advocates are sending out to tribal communities in Arizona and New Mexico.
Last week, the Notah Begay III Foundation brought together more than 125 Native American educators, youth advocates and health workers to the first of three annual healthy beverage summits.
The daylong retreat, featuring water as the drink of choice, was held at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center on Feb. 8.
On and around the large meeting room there wasn’t one Coke, Sprite, Pepsi, or gaudy, plastic cup in sight.
But plenty of fine, crystal clear water bottles and cups of natural tea could be seen everywhere.
The participants included staff from tribal organizations that received NB3 Water First Learning Community Cohort grants.
The recipients are: Community Outreach and Patient Empowerment, project out of Gallup, Five Sandoval Indian Pueblos, Inc., Jemez Pueblo, the Mescalero Apache Tribe, Ramah Navajo School Board, Santo Domingo Pueblo, STAR School out of Flagstaff, Arizona, Tamaya Wellness Center, Santa Ana Pueblo, and the Zuni Youth Enrichment Project.
Funding for the projects, around $30,000 a year for three years, came from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
The goal is to encourage Native children to drink less sugary drinks and more water, while promoting breastfeeding.