CONCHO — A powwow on Saturday will focus on teaching people about the importance of heart health.
The American Heart Association will present Honoring the Beat of Life, an intertribal powwow, on Saturday at the Concho Community Hall.
Rachel Crawford, director of Native American outreach for the American Heart Association, said this is the first time that the American Heart Association has held a powwow in Oklahoma.
“We know change doesn’t happen overnight,” Crawford said. “It happens in small stages, so we want to start that inkling of change in their minds by providing the education and awareness and showing them where the resources are.”
Crawford said the organization decided to host the event because of the high incidence of heart disease among American Indians.
Also, American Indian women are at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American Indians. Plus, American Indians and natives of Alaska die of heart disease at younger ages than any other ethnic group in the United States.
About 36 percent of those who die of heart disease die before age 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Crawford said she hopes the event will serve as a cultural forum and be a place where families can learn more about their health.
The powwow is meant to encourage American Indians to learn about controlling high blood pressure and preventing heart disease through diet and exercise.
The event is free and open to the public. It starts at 3 p.m. with a gourd dance, health screenings and flu shots.
Professional boxer George “Comanche Boy” Tahdooahnippah will discuss healthy lifestyle changes at 5 p.m., and a supper of heart-healthy stew, wild rice and fruit will be served. Also, a cooking demonstration will teach attendees about recipes with less salt, fat, sugar and calories.
Registration for competition dance starts at 6 p.m., with the dance starting at 7 p.m.