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2010 American Indian Heroes

Michael Samuel Duran

Michael Samuel Duran
Indian Health Center of Santa Clara

Michael joined the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley in February 2003 as the Substance Abuse Prevention Counselor and Gathering of Native Americans Coordinator. He was promoted to Counseling Department Director in November 2003. Michael earned his Master's degree in Counseling Education at San Jose State University. He completed his undergraduate work in History with an emphasis on Native American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He was previously employed at the Center for Training and Careers as the Director of Youth Services. After 18 years of substance abuse and several years of incarceration, Michael decided to dedicate his life to helping youth and adults find alternative ways to deal with substance use. Michael is of Apache/Chicano decent and said, "Understanding my culture has helped me understand my identity."

Nathan Costello

Nathan Costello
Advocate and Volunteer for the Bay Area American Indian Communit

Nathan Costello is Omaha, Lakota and Northern Cheyenne/Ponca. He was born in Winnebago, Nebraska. He participates in the Sun Dance in South Dakota and assists with ceremonies in California.

Nathan is respectful to the elders and those who struggle with addiction and other health problems. The path he has found through recovery is the same path our ancestors called the Good Red Road, a path that requires one to give back and take care of the community. Nathan is a modern day warrior, a remarkable example of what can be achieved when one makes a commitment to the healing of a community. Nathan has chosen to walk the Good Red Road with support from Friendship House and Native American Health Center staff. As a result the Native American community has benefited from his commitment to healing. After graduating from Friendship House, Nathan joined Sober Spirits in 1996. Sober Spirits is a support group of Friendship House alumni. They provide security at Pow Wows and other community events. They support each other's sobriety and give back to the community. Sober Spirits are role models for a clean and sober lifestyle and reach out to community members who are struggling with addiction.

Nathan has volunteered for the San Francisco and Oakland Tribal TANF programs, and has been a motivational speaker at schools throughout the Bay Area and Northern California. He is a strong advocate for embracing Native cultural arts, activities, and athletics.

As part of his community work, Nathan has been photographed for national prevention campaigns in Indian Country. In 1998, Nathan received the Native American New Millennium Award from Hollywood and the Stars, a lifetime achievement award. In 1999, the Southern California Motion Picture Council awarded Nathan an award of special merit for his outstanding contribution to the Native American motion picture community. In 2006, Nathan was asked by Dennis Banks and Floyd "Red Crow" Westerman to participate in the Sacred Run from Alcatraz to Washington D.C. It was a spiritual run of indigenous people from the United States, Japan, Australia, Ireland, and Canada. Their message was "Land, Life, and Peace." Since 2007, Nathan has represented the Native American Health Center as a member of the Advisory Committee for the San Francisco Consortium of Community Clinics. In 2008, Dennis Banks again asked Nathan to participate on another walk across the United States. Nathan participated in the Longest Walk 2, which sought to bring attention to the desecration of Sacred Sites and to re-affirm the mission of the Longest Walk of 1978.

Nathan credits Martin Waukazoo as a role model for helping him stay on his path. Nathan's father played basketball with Martin when they were growing up. Nathan has met many challenges on his path, has overcome many obstacles, and given back to his community. Nathan is a true modern day warrior.

Marvin Paddock

Marvin Paddock
Friendship House Association of American Indians of San Francisco

Marvin Paddock grew up in a rural community in Northern Arizona and has been living in San Francisco for 9 years. He is of Navajo descent. Marvin has dedicated the last decade of his life to serving the youth of his community. His work reflects the true essence of community-based prevention through the empowerment of Native youth voice in the San Francisco Bay area. By creating a true partnership with youth and their families, Marvin has had the honor of building programs with the community that highlight the role of youth as leaders today and the potential of youth to give back as global citizens of this ever increasingly connected world. By being present in the cultural context of youth in the Bay area, Marvin has influenced the development of progressive and youth driven projects that promote strong healthy native families for generations to come.

Aurora Bearchild Mamea

Aurora Mamea
San Francisco Native American Health Center

Aurora Bearchild Mamea is an enrolled member of the Great Nation of the Blackfeet "Nitsitapiiks" of Montana. She is a daughter, mother, wife, sister, and auntie as well as a "wisdom carrier" of the People, a cultural preservationist, and a teacher and practitioner of cultural/traditional wellness and spirituality. Since 1996, Aurora has worked in various roles at the San Francisco Native American Health Center (NAHC) Family & Child Guidance Clinic including HIV/Mental Health Outreach Worker, Medical Assistant, and Prevention Worker. During her tenure at the NAHC, she has had critical roles in the development and integration of cultural wellness, spirituality, and recovery practices and principles. The cultural knowledge and responsiveness which she has contributed has helped the agency address complex needs of urban Native Americans through reaching, finding, and assisting those most vulnerable. Aurora has eloquently demonstrated that the most essential healing element in serving the Native community is developing and fostering positive "Relations" through community preservation, community building activities such as beading classes, cultural arts (regalia, medicine dress, shawl, etc.), and traditional, spiritual practices (dance, sweat lodge, community gathering, medicinal sage gathering, etc.).

On September 4, 2010, Aurora received the Gary Rhine Award and was recognized as a "Cultural Preservationist." She has been given the honors of Head Woman Dancer at many Bay Area Pow-wows and was involved in carrying the White Bison Sacred Hoop during Wellbriety ceremonials. Aurora is 1 of the 5 original co-founders of the Oakland-based Medicine Warrior Dance Group which began in 1998, since then this group has taught many community members the healing ways of dancing. In 2001, Aurora established the SF Dancing Feathers Youth Dance Group at the SF Friendship House Association of American Indians Youth Prevention Program for Native youth and families. In 2010, Aurora was instrumental in assisting Friendship House Association of American Indians in facilitating yet another pow-wow dance class in San Leandro, CA, and has played a vital role in gathering local community pow-wow dancers annually for Friendship House and KQED community events. Through teaching cultural dance, protocols and traditions, she has guided inner city urban Native youth to develop life, leadership, and interpersonal skills that promote a sense of Native pride & positive self esteem and continues to work with the community in a good way.

Also on KQED.org this week ...

Sid the Science Kid at California Academy of Sciences
KQED Summer Fun Adventures

This summer, KQED is partnering with tons of fun places in the Bay Area offering exciting adventures and special savings when you show your MemberCard.

Summer Arts Guide
San Francisco Opera on KQED

Get your front row seat at one of the leading opera companies in the world! Shot in brilliant HD, the fifth season of San Francisco Opera's acclaimed series brings you four spectacular productions performed by world-class singers.

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