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Go Red for Women’s Heart Health Shines at Annual Fashion Show | News

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Rebekah Jarvey

The up-and-coming and successful fashion designer Rebekah Jarvey visits Pablo to discuss how she finds wellness via her creativity, culture, and wardrobe.

PABLO — The annual Go Red For Women fashion show took place at Salish Kootenai College’s Johnny Arlee and Vic Charlo Theater on February 9th. The guest speakers were Karyn Thornton, CSKT Tribal Health Physician Assistant, and Rebekah Jarvey, an indigenous fashion designer. 

The theme was to celebrate the strength and resilience of women everywhere, with a focus on a healthy heart.

Brenda Bodner

Brenda Bodner on the runway at the Go Red For Women fashion show at SKC

Thornton talked about heart disease risk, signs and symptoms of cardiovascular heart disease, menopause, and what is good for one’s heart.

According to Thornton, heart disease is the number one cause of death in Native Americans, and one-third of Native Americans with heart disease will die before the age of 65.

“Heart disease kills a lot of people in this country, and we need to take it very seriously. Sometimes I don’t think it gets publicity like breast cancer,” said Thornton.

fashion baby

A Go Red For Women fashion baby takes the floor in a cute ribbon skirt, rocking little mocs

“Heart disease is the number one killer of women, and 80% of our heart disease is preventable,” said Thornton. “One in three of us women will develop heart disease.”

Thornton described the difference in symptoms between women and men when experiencing coronary artery symptoms. She highlighted that in more than half of women experiencing chest pain, the first thing they do is rest and think it will go away. “Denial is a wonderful thing, and it works for a little while,” said Thornton. “After 30 minutes of chest pain or coronary symptoms, 32% will continue to deny the need for help.”

For men, in many of the clients she has seen, the number one reason a man goes to the emergency services for coronary symptoms is because the wife told them to. 

Naomi Plant

Naomi Plant walks the runway, showcasing numerous items such as a peyote stitch lanyard, ribbon dress, and jewelry

Signs of a heart attack in women could be as simple as nausea and vomiting, dizziness, sweating, and shortness of breath. When females come into the emergency department and are diagnosed with a heart attack, the common complaints are shortness of breath or weakness, according to Thornton. 

When a person experiences symptoms it is important to not drive and instead call 911, and know where the aspirin is. 

There is a huge difference between aspirin and Tylenol. Thornton used a word she made up, “Slickery,” to describe what aspirin does. It makes it so hopefully your blood will get by that clot that is in the heart that is preventing your muscle from getting blood flow. Aspirin breaks down platelets, according to Thornton.

When you stop smoking, within 20 minutes your heart rate and blood pressure go down. In 24 minutes, your risk of having a heart attack goes down. In 48 hours, your sense of smell begins to return, and in two weeks you can breathe better. In six months, you can handle situations better, and think faster, and within three years your risk of a heart attack will have reduced to that of a non-smoker.

“Unfortunately, when you were taken out of your ancestral homelands, your diet changed, and it has never returned to what it was meant to be,” said Thornton. “As a people, we should take note of the fact that when your people ate from the land, ate what they raised, ate what they hunted, we were a far healthier people.”

“We need to get back to the basics of processing and making our own food,” she said. “When you go to the grocery store, and you want to be healthy, you shop around the edge of the grocery store because that is where all the health is,” she said.

When Thornton was in Physician Assistant school, she said they had less than one day of training on hormone therapy and menopause. When she was a nurse, she had no training. She highlights that menopause should get a lot more attention and should be talked about with women more often, especially when there are benefits to addressing menopause in the premenopausal stage. 

“The fact is we need estrogen,” she said. “How many of you were told estrogen was bad? For many years, we were told about the badness of estrogen. Things have changed, but we haven’t got that information to all our patients.”

When premenopausal, it is the time to treat. People can get their symptoms under control by taking estrogen, which will reduce anxiety, depression, joint pain, dizziness, headaches, brain fog, and symptoms that go into premenopausal time.

“It’s interesting that Viagra is covered by insurance companies, but estrogen and birth control pills are not,” said Thornton.

“My opinion is if we can replace our estrogen, it would give us the strength to be those multitasking women again,” said Thornton.

Women who start estrogen before menopause have less cardiac death, according to Thornton, and women who enter menopause before 35 are more likely to have heart disease. Topical estrogen does not cause cancer, according to Thornton.

The average age of menopause in the U.S. is 51 years old. Smoking causes it to occure two years earlier, Thornton added. 

“It is safe for many women to be on hormones the rest of their life,” she said. 

“You have to realize we have to break the cycles of behaviors that do not promote health,” said Thornton. “Our kids replicate what they see. I see kids at the age of two years coming into the clinic playing on a phone.” They should have more of an active life, she said.

Not only can technology impact the young ones lives, but the same with adults. Adults lose out on sleep when they are constantly on their phones. “We need to turn it off, not only because we need sleep, but our family needs that face-to-face time.”

“They did the study that the average parent looks at a phone or device three hundred times a day, and their child less than 50,” said Thornton. “(It) Doesn’t sit right with me.”

Take the time to sleep without interruption, take time with family, budget to shop on the outside of the isles in the grocery stores, listen to your body, go back to your roots, exercise regularly, walking three miles a week, or exercising 150 minutes a week can give you the ability to live seven years longer.

Thornton said to reflect and assess what can be controlled or changed, and make those choices that are good to the heart. 

Rebekah Jarvey finds wellness through fashion and culture.

Jarvey finds ways of interacting with what she loves and who she is through creativity. She put on a presentation about how part of her wellness comes from knowing her culture and incorporating it into her life through fashion. 

Jarvey is an enrolled member of the Chippewa Cree Tribe in North Central Montana, and is also Blackfeet. 

Jarvey recently shared her fashion designs in Cannes, France, and collaborated with Nike N7 in 2023; she and her son Royce played roles in the Nike SB Dunk x N7 design, as well as her son modeled the sneakers for Nike. She has also announced her upcoming debut at New York Fashion Week in September 2024. She is also a full-time employee for the Chippewa Cree Tribe and only does fashion part-time.

Jarvey is an artist, fashion show coordinator, fashion designer, and fashion influencer. Last year she participated in 15 fashion shows.

“Fashion took me to many different people and places,” said Jarvey. She likes to see how her work has given her the “time of her life” experiences.

Her website Rebekah Jarvey (Rebekahjarvey.com) presents three distinct clothing lines: ready-to-wear, upcycled one-of-a-kind pieces, and Indigenous Luxury.

“Today is the first day of New York Fashion Week. We have indigenous brothers and sisters there at New York Fashion Week. It is really monumental for our people to take up those spaces because just a very few years ago, there was no representation of indigenous people in New York Fashion Week,” said Jarvey.

She talked about several topics, such as generational knowledge, native fashion overview, cultural identity, pride, empowerment, resilience, and community and social well-being.

Jarvey puts on a lot of events back home in Rocky Boy; the next fashion show will take place on September 21, 2024. Jarvey likes to include her community; so she puts on a fashion show for her community where they come together to eat and have fun. Plus she intentionally includes people from her community into the fashion show, so they can experience the “glitz” and “glam.”

In September she will have a “really well-known person, not even throughout the county, but throughout the world,” who will be attending and Jarvey will be making announcements soon. 

Jarvey says what she has learned has trickled down through four generations: from her great-grandma to her grandma, to her mom, and her mom taught her. She is now passing on this knowledge to her son, representing the fifth generation of teachings.

She said there is a lot she did not learn because it was lost through generations, but likes to include everything she knows about her heritage into her creativity and fashion. 

She calls herself a contemporary fashion designer; she doesn’t call herself a traditional designer, and for her collection this year, she is using traditional geometric designs from the Cree people and her family colors.

One collection will be “family colors,” and the other collection will be with her “neon” and “loud” collection.

For Jarvey, she loves what she does and how she incorporates her culture into traditional clothing from the tribes she is affiliated with. She spoke about how indigenous clothing combined with modern clothing gives encouragement and strength for the youth. She wants the culture represented in the clothes she makes, but as well, she also wants the clothes to be accustomed to the youth by being “cool.”

“I am really big on working with the youth because I do have a teenage son, so it is really hard to get their attention about learning our culture and way of life… they don’t listen, but if you show something that catches their eye and tell them the meaning and story behind it, they most likely gravitate to that, and most likely, they will listen,” said Jarvey.

Jarvey talked about a time when it was not cool to wear ribbon skirts and remembers getting teased. So in her fashion, she tries to figure out how to make it “cool” so the youth can feel native pride and identity.

“To have that identity and being proud of who you are is part of your wellness,” said Jarvey.


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