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Health

Native American organization struggling but hopeful

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A new organization in Ypsilanti that promotes cancer awareness for Native Americans is struggling to stay afloat.

Shoshana Beth Phillips is executive director of Heritage of Healing. It incorporates native traditions and activities into its services, and supports families with a parent dealing with cancer. (Phillips is originally from the Omaha Nation of Nebraska and was diagnosed with bone marrow cancer seven years ago.) 

Phillips says one reason she created the organization was because there’s no Native American community center in Washtenaw County. She explains that it can be very difficult for native people to ask for help.

Phillips says native people are sometimes afraid they’ll lose respect when asking for help and she says lack of trust is another issue preventing them from reaching out to a non-native group.

The year-old organization may have to close its doors because of lack of funding, but Phillips says she remains hopeful.

Native Americans struggle with high rates of cancer, diabetes and obesity.

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