Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan recognizes 2013 Tribe to Tribe and Blues Community Challenge winners
Aug. 5, 2013
DETROIT — Teams from 10 Michigan-based, Native American tribal communities spent the past nine weeks getting physically active in the 2013 Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Tribe to Tribe and Blues Community Challenge. The incentive-based wellness competition encouraged members of Michigan’s federally-recognized tribal communities and Native American support organizations in a competition to determine which team could log the most miles of physical activity throughout the duration of the challenge. Tribal communities completing the challenge received grants from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to support health and wellness programs in their communities.
The original Tribe to Tribe Walking Challenge was issued seven years ago by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians to neighboring tribes for yearly "bragging rights" in physical activity leadership. 2013 marked the second year of the Tribe to Tribe and Blues Community Challenge program, the result of a partnership between Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Inter–Tribal Council of Michigan and Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. The program began in 2012 with the shared goals of increasing overall participation and incentivizing participants in the program to help keep individuals motivated in continuing, and increasing, their regular levels of physical activity.
To fulfill the requirements of the competition, members of each team logged their daily physical activity through the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Blues WalkingWorks™ online tracking tool, with the goal of being the team whose members had the highest average miles achieved per participant. This year, more than 550 tribal members throughout Michigan registered for the challenge, marking the highest participation levels in the contest’s seven-year history. At the end of the challenge, nearly 90,000 miles were logged by the participants, the equivalent of 3,397 completed marathons.
The celebration and announcement ceremony for the 2013 Tribe to Tribe and Blues Community Challenge winners was held in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., at the 26th Annual Michigan Indian Family Olympics on July 26, 2013, during which the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi (Fulton, Mich.) was declared the winning tribe, tracking the highest average miles of physical activity per participant. Strong annual contenders Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (Baraga, Mich.) and Little Traverse Bay Band of Odawa Indians (Harbor Springs, Mich.) placed second and third, respectively, in the competition.
"Partnering this year with these 10 tribes for the Tribe to Tribe and Blues Community Challenge program has been a truly wonderful experience," said Shelley DuFort, senior community liaison for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. "It was exciting to see so many people engaged in the program and making commitments to get active and either begin or expand upon their healthy lifestyle behaviors. Even more inspiring was witnessing enthusiastic participants challenge themselves and reach out to encourage others to get involved. I expect this challenge will only continue to grow in its reach and scope in the future, and participating tribal communities build upon their impressive progress in their journey toward better health."
Additional participating tribes were awarded grants through the program, including (in order of their ranking): Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish (Gun Lake, Mich.), Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa (Traverse City, Mich.), American Indian Health and Family Services (a Native American service and support agency out of Detroit), Little River Band (Manistee, Mich.), Pokagon Band Potawatomi (Dowagiac, Mich.), Saginaw Chippewa Indians (Mt. Pleasant, Mich.) and Hannahville Indian Tribe (Wilson, Mich.).
The Tribe to Tribe and Blues Community Challenge program is an extension of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s ongoing commitment to reducing health disparities in diverse communities. According to the Native American Research Centers for Health, Native American populations have higher incidences of cardiovascular disease, obesity, respiratory issues, HIV/AIDS, mental health concerns and substance abuse than the general population.
The 10 tribal communities that completed the 2013 Tribe to Tribe and Blues Community Challenge competed for grants offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan to support health and wellness programs in their communities. The total grant funding offered for the program was $11,000, and each tribe that completed the challenge received a portion of that amount, ranging from $250-$3,000, with higher performing teams receiving larger grants.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit www.bcbsm.com.