Families take part in the Zumba workout provided by Salt River Fitness instructors Rachel Seepie and Michelle Long.

Child Abuse Prevention: Healthier Living Makes for Healthier Families

By Tasha Silverhorn
Au-Authm Action News

On Friday, April 12, at the Victory Acres II Park, the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community Social Services Department hosted the Child Abuse Prevention event to help educate families about the services and programs that are available to help build healthy and happy families in the Community.

The event included informational booths, public safety, healthcare providers and special presentations on keeping a clean home and cultural views on children.

The Salt River Fitness Center trainers were on hand to lead participants in group exercise; the first one was strength and circuit training, and the second one was a Zumba workout, which the young children really loved.

Janice Van Winkle and Rowena Duran, social workers in the SRPMIC Social Services Division, provided tips for keeping a clean home, sharing recipes for environmentally safe cleaning products. Diane Cashoya, education specialist for the Cultural Resources Department’s O’odham Piipaash Language Program, collaborated with other CRD staff to host a presentation on cultural views of children in Salt River throughout history.

“As with all cultures, in the O’odham Piipaash culture historically children were important for a people to survive. Their role was equally important [as the adult role] within the tribe. Parents as well as relatives had a hand in guiding and molding the children, and even the Community helped to teach and raise them,” said Cashoya. “Men and women had separate roles for teaching our children; they shared roles as teacher, parent, disciplinary and provider.”

Cashoya went on to explain how the O’odham and Piipaash cultures have changed to conform and adapt with the society that surrounds the Onk Akimel Community. “We continually say our children are our future, and we should hold that belief as true. As parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, we have a stake in the raising of our children,” she said. “We still need to support and encourage our children throughout their lifetime, as our responsibility is never done.

“There is a need to return to culture and traditions which can help a child proudly identify ‘who they are’—what their family values are and who they represent, which is the O’odham and Piipaash cultures,” Cashoya continued. “The traditional O’odham were stern but fair and had a willingness to help each other to teach [children] to know who they are and belong to.”

The evening ended with raffle prizes for children and families.

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