September 20, 2006

Native actress struggles with weight

Not in Hollywood, Girl:  A Mohawk and CheeseburgerAfter Dreamkeeper, I became a health nut and stayed away from processed foods. I hated seeing our people portrayed as “a bunch of fat Indians.” I decided not to portray this horrible image any longer. I began to work out to the point of fainting and sickness. This new found perspective brought me into a place where I was concerned not only for my health, but for all Natives. I’m all for “fry-bread power”, but I don’t think anyone should eat it daily. I visit a lot of reservations where foods like fire-hot Cheetos, pizza and Mountain Dew make a meal. On the other hand, I do love banick-bread, macaroni soup and commodity cheese. My mom’s dumpling soup could make any mouth water.

But then I look around myself and see that a lot of our people are over-weight. I did some research and found that over 60% of Native Americans are overweight, and 18% are morbidly obese. I also found that the new generation of children in elementary school has the highest average weight than ever before. When children are obese, it’s time to take a look at things.


writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
It would be nice to know the woman's identity, as the diary-like page doesn't list her name. Sheila Tousey? Sage Galesi?
In any case, she doesn't seem either to understand or even know that Natives are barely 250 years at the most and barely 100 years at the least in adapting to the white man's foods and lifestyles. There were no processed sugars or grains or fats or biotically-altered meats, and salt was too valuable as a preservative or even as a trade item to be used but sparingly as a condiment. For such short times, then, Natives have been torn from their natural diets that were millennia-long in development and thrust into a world of foods which totally were alien. When the Kiowas were incarcerated at Ft. Sill, the few times they received rations from the Army saw them throwing away most of the 'food.' For example, they thought processed rice could only be dried maggots and so it was dumped. Tinned foods were deemed untrustworthy because none could read the labeling and although many cans were identical, they did not always yield the same product twice. In "Rite Of Encounter," which takes place after 1845, my Kiowa character, Singing-Owl, finds canned food in the river camp where white men died of a mysterious disease; he tosses them aside because he cannot read the markings.
Even today, with both assimilation and education as their backup, Natives mostly eat what tastes best rather than what is balanced in nutrition. For many in poor circumstances, the choice is between nutrition and cost. Imbalances in diet and nutrition underlie disturbingly high ratios of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney failure, stroke, and many other life-threatening conditions.
Technically, Natives are a part of this society but much of it remains an unfathomable mystery, especially the diet.
All Best
Russ Bates

Rob said...

Her name is Misty Upham. You can figure it out by matching the header to the logo on the right side, but I agree it could be clearer.