Monday, April 11, 2005

27 tons of Indian

War broke out Satuday among the tribes of North Dakota. Tex Hall, president of the NCAI, led the charge. 250 warriors, weighing in at an average of 215 lbs each, took up the challenge. (That's 27 tons of Indian!) And all of Indian Country must heed their call!!

Enemy number one? Fat. Let's face it, many of us are just plain fat. Commodity food, our genetic intolerance for carbs and poor preventative health care have conspired to continue the genocide against out people. And the disease du jour ain't smallpox anymore. It's diabetes.

According to the National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse, 11.5% of Native Americans have Type II diabetes, compared to 3.9% of Whites. For people over 45, that number skyrockets to around 21.5%, compared to 8.3% among Whites. That's one in five. One in five! But added to stats is the fact that diabetes may be widely underreported among Natives. In a recent screening study 40-70% of Native adults were found to have diabetes.

And the truth is that diabetes is an ugly disease. My doctor, a no-nonesense Russian woman, put it to me this way: "You go blind, they chop off your foot, and you go on dialysis". Lovely. And exactly how I imagined spending my retirement years. But the truth is that I am at high risk, too. My grandfather died of the disease, and unfortunately, it's just in my genes. (Now tell me you want to be part-Indian.)

There is a movement to "de-colonize" the Native diet, which sounds like a rallying cry to me. And while that means limited my intake of frybread, I'm with you, Tex, and your formidable warriors! Bring on the salads!


cartoon from Redwire Magazine: http://www.redwiremag.com/cocacolonial.htm
"decolonize your diet" from http://www.cafepress.com/decolonizenow
frybread picture from Clarita's mom: http://modular.fas.harvard.edu/clarita/Mom%20photos/

2 Comments:

Blogger Sylvana said...

This really got me thinking about the food pyramid that the government puts out to show the healthy eating guidelines. Is this pyramid accurate for all ethnicities? I know that there are other ethnic groups that have special dietary needs also.

5:58 PM  
Blogger themarigoldtrail said...

Actually, I think that is a very good question. There are certainly books that have argued that dietary needs differ from ethnic group to ethnic group (or blood type to blood type), depending on what your ancestors ate. And there is the argument to move all people back to a more "caveman diet".

Among Indians, there is a movement to get back to eating foods, both game and plants, that are indigenous to your region of origin. That means lots of corn for me. I'll take it!

4:48 PM  

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