By Charles Pekow
Pupils at six Navajo elementary schools in Arizona this spring will take part in an experimental program to teach them bicycling skills. And if it works, it can be continued and expanded to other Indian schools.
The Indian Health Service (IHS) is sponsoring the Outdoor Experimental Program – Cycling & Biking Program at the schools in the towns of Chinle, Pinion and Tsaile in northeast Arizona. It will use curricula produced by Project Venture, an Albuquerque NM-based organization dedicated to help “indigenous youth embracing their potential through outdoor adventure and service” (projectventure.org).
IHS sees the program as helping improve children's health. The plan calls for serving more than 200 fourth- and fifth-grade students in after-school, in-school, day-long and overnight programs. IHS is seeking a contractor to teach riding, safety, bike maintenance and repair along with other skill and character developments and outdoor education.
If it goes well, the program may be extended for years and expanded to other schools, depending on funding, Contract Specialist Tovarai Tenorio says.