The values and teachings of American Indian and Alaska Native people have always promoted good thoughts, prayers, health, balance and stamina. Through the voices and stories of Native elders who lead and advocate for regular exercise and a healthy lifestyle, these videos explore the importance of athleticism as a means of survival and resilience for Native people.
Jerrod Moore, Tribal Injury Prevention Resource Center (TIPPC) manager at Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center, and TIPPC Coordinator A. Sixtus Dominguez, detail the importance of stretching and staying active for American Indian and Alaska Native elders.
The National Senior Games came to Albuquerque from June 14-25, 2019, attracting a record number of 13,712 athletes from 50 states, and setting more than 202 new records.
This was the first year the Games were held in New Mexico, and it was the largest in National Senior Games 32-year history. June 17 was a particularly special day of the Games — Indian Day, set aside to honor American Indian and Alaska Native elder athletes. More than 100 Native elders registered for the biennial games — a number that contributes to the event’s record-breaking year.
82-year-old Nina Tortilla of Mescalero, New Mexico, who is Apache and Navajo, tells her story of growing up on the reservation, what she learned from her grandparents, and how she started competing in the New Mexico Senior Olympics and National Senior Games. Click here to read more about American Indian elders at the National Senior Games.
81-year-old veteran Ralph Paytiamo is from Acoma Pueblo, New Mexico and competed in the 1993 National Senior Games in Virginia. He joined the New Mexico Senior Games in 1998 when he was 62, according to the association. He had to slow down on his active lifestyle due to prostate cancer and an aortic aneurysm.
Since 2005, he has competed in the race walk, not running. Click here to read more about American Indian elders at the National Senior Games.
Sixtus Dominguez, a Tribal Injury Prevention Resource Center coordinator at Albuquerque Area Southwest Tribal Epidemiology Center, demonstrates chair exercises and talks about the importance of stretching and staying active for elders.