Coeur d'Alene Tribe Gets More Native Americans Moving With Pow Wow Sweat

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At A Glance

To increase opportunities for physical activity in Native American communities, the Coeur d'Alene tribe in Plummer, Idaho, launched the Pow Wow Sweat program with a series of aerobic videos featuring traditional dances with a modern twist. From the launch in July 2016 to July 2017, the video campaign gained more than 10,000 followers and likes on Facebook and more than 100,000 views on YouTube. The tribe provides no cost ready-to-use videos online and on DVD for people to use in their own communities.

By Lee Zahir

Public Health Challenge

In 2015, 64% of Native American adults in Idaho were overweight or had obesity, which put them at risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke, according to data from CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. Regular physical activity can help control weight, but fewer than half of Native American adults in Idaho met aerobic physical activity guidelines, compared to almost 60% of non-Hispanic white adults. Historically, the Coeur d'Alene tribe has lacked access to community physical activity programs. Like many rural areas, tribal communities have fewer prevention services that encourage physical activity.


CDC’s Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) program established the REACH hnqhesnet (Coeur d’Alene for “It Is Our Wellbeing”) team to increase physical activity opportunities for Native Americans. The team created the Pow Wow Sweat program and three videos, which feature dancers from the Coeur d’Alene and other tribes. The series includes a warm-up video, six traditional Pow Wow dances, and a cool-down video. By creating a forum on social media for people who want to be active and learn traditional Native American dances, Pow Wow Sweat quickly gained traction.

Love these videos! So easy to follow and a great way for all of us to learn our traditions. I've used them in the classroom and even used pieces of the men’s grass dance as part of our dance competition, which we won first place.
- Pow Wow Sweat Facebook Fan


Since Pow Wow Sweat’s launch in 2016 through July of 2017, it has gained almost 10,000 followers and likes on Facebook and has more than 100,000 views on the YouTube videos. REACH hnqhesnet team members have received numerous requests to perform Pow Wow Sweat at conferences and events for Native American Youth, an Indigenous People’s Day, a Native American rodeo championship Pow Wow, and other Pow Wows. In addition, viewer interest in the Pow Wow Sweat videos on the social media platforms remains high. As a result of the program’s success, the US Surgeon General invited the dancers featured in Pow Wow Sweat videos to perform at the 2016 White House Tribal Nation’s Conference in Washington, DC. The video series has also generated interest from Spain, England, and Germany.

What's Next

The Coeur d'Alene tribe plans to continue to engage Native American communities and encourage further involvement by training people who want to learn more about Native dance moves to increase physical activity and help reduce overweight and obesity. With more Pow Wow Sweat trainers and increased access to the program’s workout videos, people can continue to participate in the activities as long as they wish and in the comfort of their own homes. Coeur d'Alene also aims to increase awareness of the videos through more partnerships and community engagement. This program is supported by a REACH cooperative agreement.

Find Out More

Starting a conversation about the need for more physical activity opportunities — by word of mouth or on social media — can raise awareness of programs such as Pow Wow Sweat. Share the video series with patients, clients, and neighbors and help this program reach more people. For more information about Pow Wow Sweat and to access the videos, visit and


Lee Zahir
Benewah Medical Center
427 N 12th Street

Plummer, ID 83851
Phone: 208-699-9366

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Web site


The findings and conclusions in this success story are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position of the funding agencies or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

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