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Eagle Books Art Exhibition Illustrated Healthy Living

The Eagle Books, a series of four children's books, encourage a return to traditional ways, including physical activity and healthy eating. Over 2 million books have been disseminated throughout Indian Country, the rest of the US, and abroad.

To expand the reach of these vital health messages, artwork from the Eagle Books is on display at museums across the United States through 2013. The traveling exhibition, Through the Eyes of the Eagle: Illustrating Healthy Living for Children, includes original watercolors featured in the books Through the Eyes of the Eagle, Plate Full of Color, Knees Lifted High, and Tricky Treats.

Eagle Books exhibitThe exhibition is curated by the Global Healthy Odyssey Museum with programming support from the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and the Division of Diabetes Translation.

American Indians, Alaska Natives and Diabetes

While diabetes affects nearly 26 million people in the US, American Indians and Alaska Natives suffer disproportionately from the disease. In fact, Native American adults are twice as likely as their white counterparts to have diabetes. Young people are also familiar with the devastation of the disease. Children often help care for family members with diabetes, and many children are at risk themselves. Type 2 diabetes, although relatively rare in children, accounts for 76 percent of cases among 10- to 19-year-old Native children. In fact, rates of diabetes among Native people younger than 35 doubled between 1994 and 2004.

Eagle Books

The Eagle Books are a series of four books for Native American children and those interested in healthy living. The stories promote diabetes education and encourage a return to traditional ways, including physical activity and healthy eating. The series was developed by the Division of Diabetes Translation's Native Diabetes Wellness Program in collaboration with the Tribal Leaders Diabetes Committee and the Indian Health Service in response to the disproportionate burden of diabetes among Native Americans and the lack of diabetes education materials for children.

Eagle Books illustrationThe books were authored by Georgia Perez, who lives in Nambe Pueblo in New Mexico. In 1994, she began specializing in diabetes education with the Native American Diabetes Project at the University of New Mexico. The stories in the Eagle Books came from a recurring dream of an eagle that showed Ms. Perez "how life for Native Americans used to be and some things that Native people should do to be healthy once again." Through her work with physician Janette Carter, she began developing culturally-tailored educational materials.

Eagle Books illustrationPatrick Rolo (Bad River Band of Ojibwe, Wisconsin) and Lisa A. Fifield (Oneida Tribe of Wisconsin, Black Bear Clan) are the illustrators of the Eagle Books. Mr. Rolo draws from his rich heritage to co-illustrate the Eagle Books. His career includes newspaper, magazine, comic book, and court illustration. His fine-art paintings hang in galleries in Minnesota and Washington State. Ms. Fifield uses time-honored Native American tales and beliefs as the inspiration for her work. Her color palette is unique, as she mixes paint to her own aesthetic. Her art has been exhibited in numerous museums in the Western United States.

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