Name: Alex M. McComber, M.Ed., D.Sc. (hon.)
Beat: Community researcher and advisor with The Kahnawake School Diabetes Prevention Project, health promotion consultant, and workshop facilitator.
Heritage: Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk), Bear Clan
Current location: Kahnawake Kanien’kehá:ka Territory
Describe yourself in 1 word or sentence: A very close brother once described me with this quote: “Life’s journey is not to arrive safely in a well-preserved body but rather to skid is sideways totally worn out shouting, ‘Holy shit what a ride!’” I have to agree.
When were you first inspired to make a change in your community? During 1976-1977, when I was hired to start the first alcohol abuse prevention project in Kahnawake. Then, I began to understand and learn about the needier side of life in the community.
What’s helped you to grow and find happiness- professionally and personally? Letting go of my ego, finding patience, and understanding that everyone is on their own human journey. Also, recognizing that changing an individual and a community takes a lifetime.
Who are your real life heroes? My parents. They walked with traditional values of respect and always helped others. As well, anyone - especially youth - who achieves a personal goal after overcoming immense challenges.
What are some key facets of successful community initiatives? Listening to community members when they talk about what they want; building organizational partnerships to reach goals; continuing to drive the important message home, year after year, changing it up regularly to keep it fresh and accessible; bringing in new people with new ideas.
- Also check out...
- Kahnawake School Diabetes Prevention Project
- National Aboriginal Diabetes Association
What can our ancestors teach us about diabetes prevention? Our ancestors had the ideal existence- they were connected in spirit to the land, the foods and medicines, all other life on earth, and with our sky world relations. They were physically active, and lived with respect, peace and good minds. These are important to consider when looking at diabetes prevention and wellness in general.
What is your motto? Be yourself and do what you have to do.