September 30, 2009

Rhodes Scholar tackles Native health

Fantasy Football

Star athlete partners with Indian educators

By Rob Capriccioso
A football star was recently featured at the Department of the Interior with a plan to help children attending Native American schools get healthy.

Myron L. Rolle, an all-American college athlete, explained in a Sept. 23 ceremony at Interior’s Washington office that improving the health of Native American youth is one of his major concerns.

Rolle, a former safety for his college team, the Florida State Seminoles, has gained much attention in the press for his desire to forgo an immediate National Football League career in order to take advantage of a Rhodes scholarship to study at Oxford University for the 2009–10 academic year.

“I’ve been an athlete for my whole life, so I know what it takes to have an active lifestyle, to eat proper nutrition, and how to perform daily functions better,” Rolle said.

“My father is a Type 2 diabetic, so I know what it’s like personally to have someone and live with someone who has to monitor his blood sugar and watch his diet and have a more active approach to his lifestyle as well.”

Rolle said his former college team name also inspired him to want to honor Native Americans. He did not refer to the mascot controversies that plague many teams named after American Indians.

He heads a foundation that designed and implemented a health program last year for Indian fifth graders at a largely Seminole charter school in Okeechobee, Fla.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and BIA head Larry EchoHawk are impressed with the success of the program. Thus, they chose to expand it to introduce a similar physical fitness and health program into Interior-funded American Indian schools.
Comment:  For more on Rhodes Scholars, see Rhodes Scholars Organized Lenape Exhibit and Crow Rhodes Scholar.

Below:  "Pictured, from left, are Kevin Skenandore, acting director, Bureau of Indian Education, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Myron Rolle, Rep. Martin Heinrich of New Mexico, and Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs Larry EchoHawk." (Photo courtesy Rick Lewis/National Park Service)

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