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The Rise of Tribes and the Fall of Federal Indian Law
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Yellow Bird: Diabetes too common among Indians
Monday, October 1, 2007
Filed Under: Health | Opinion

"Diabetes among American Indians is familiar to me. Of my 10 brothers and sisters, two of my sisters have diabetes. That's my immediate family, but aunts, uncles and other family members have diabetes, too. It seems unusual, but my mother and father didn't have diabetes. And it seems that in the larger family of my mother and father's brothers and sisters, there are whole families that have the disease.

Diabetes is common, so common, most of us know how to give insulin shots and administer pills to family members. At my aunt's house years ago, part of the morning ritual was shots and pills rather than the cereal, toast and coffee.

A few weeks ago, when I was home visiting my sisters, we had our meals together those days. I couldn't help but notice how my two sisters who had diabetes seem drawn to the syrup, pancakes, sweet rolls and bacon. At lunch, when they chose dessert, they pushed it back behind the rest of their food.

I made a remark the first day about the pancakes but could tell it wasn't well received. They've let us know in the past that what they eat is their decision and I know that reminding them really doesn't help.

We laughed when one of my diabetic sisters ordered a large, chocolate sundae and called it a Type II diabetes ice cream sundae. Like I said, it is a common disease, and we laugh in the face of it. Unfortunately, we also are no stranger to the results: amputations, kidney dialysis or death."

Get the Story:
Dorreen Yellow Bird: Don't let diabetes get the best of you (The Grand Forks Herald 9/29)
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