Celebrating the new Port Gamble S'Klallam Environmental Health Children's Book, taʔt̕ə́wəsnaʔ

Author and Port Gamble S'Klallam tribal member Tleena Ives organized a Book Release for her children's book, taʔt̕ə́wəsnaʔ Star. 

Tleena's book was the result of her collaboration with the Center for Ecogenetics and Environmental Health (CEEH) Native TEACH Project.
With support from a Supplement Grant from the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), researchers from tribal communities in the Pacific Northwest held conversations about environmental health in their communities. The project was called American Indian Environmental Health Stories.

Members of the Mothers' Group
each read a page from the book. 
Tleena is the leader of the Together for Children Mothers Group. She and the mothers spent time talking about what environmental health means for them. Tleena summarized the results in a children's book in the S'Klallam and English languages. The book captures the hopes and dreams the mothers have for their children and features the artwork of eight talented S'Klallam artists. 

Book author Tleena Ives with
Tribal Chairman Jeromy Sullivan
Tleena organized, helped cook for, and presided over a celebration that included dinner, gifts, special guests, door prizes, and an introduction to the Together for Children and Native TEACH projects, and the Children's Book. Each family who attended was given a free copy of the children's book. Books were also presented to the Tribal Council, public library, and Wolfle Elementary School. 

Scroll down on the PGST website Together for Children page to hear the book read in the S'Klallam language.

Tleena showed this 10-minute Digital Story about the Native TEACH project. It features the native researchers and their projects, including an art show, original song, and the children's book. 

A short feedback form asked those who attended (1) How will you use the children's book? and (2) What value do you see in having this book for the tribe? Here are some of the comments:
  • I wish they had made a book like this when I was a child
  • To start discussions with my family, admire the artwork, practice the S'Klallam words
  • It's important to have books that share our language and culture today, not just historically
  • Helps children understand their parents' wishes for them
  • I think it will be a great asset to the young mothers
  • This is a reminder that there is support, dreams, and heritage 
  • This is a very proud moment for the S'Klallam people 
The tribal researchers also created a calendar blog that posts a new blog each week throughout 2015. Each researcher contributed four blogposts that discuss an environmental health challenge, a community art project, a traditional food, and a call to action. Tleena's contribution is being posted during April.

--Marilyn Hair
CEEH Outreach Manager

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