I did pretty awful on the Health Quiz. A 4/10 if I’m not mistaken. I was most interested by the life expectancy numbers, and the Washington, DC example of how you can see a difference of 20 years in life expectancy on a train ride from one neighborhood to another. I lived on an Indian reservation in South Dakota where life expectancy is of the lowest in the entire western hemisphere, and it is always pretty sad for me to be reminded that these conditions are allowed to exist in one of the richest, most powerful countries on the planet.
I chose to study “Finding Hope for the Future by Reclaiming the Past,” which also deals with native issues. Prevalence of diabetes on reservations is staggering, and can be attributed to many things. On Pine Ridge, the reservation I lived in SD, things like alcoholism, commodity foods supplied by the government, “gas station diets”, and lack of grocery stores all contribute to the poor health of the people. But the common denominator amongst these health issues is poverty. The stark conditions in which people are forced to live are truly do to the fact that there is little economic activity. When people don’t have jobs, they can’t afford to buy good food or even get the kind of exercise they need at work.
Also, when you lack an economy, the “globalization” and “development” rarely finds you because you seemingly have little to contribute. From this perception, judgement and stereotypes may grow. The author of my article talked a little about “victim blaming” and the effect this can have on the epidemic of diabetes. This racist behavior takes resources out of the hands of people who need them, and can be so damaging that young natives view it as an inevitability. These are all factors outside of genetics that are making the diabetes epidemic even more deadly, especially in Indian Country.