Native American Diabetes Prevention, Food Sovereignty, and Clean Water Program

The Native American Diabetes Screening and Recovery Program, designed and sponsored by the Tree of Life Foundation, a 501(c)3 religious organization and humanitarian service corporation, represents an effective option for healing diabetes in the Native American community, and eventually indigenous communities around the globe. As mentioned earlier, research from around the world has shown that within 20 years after the western industrialized diet of processed food, white sugar, and white flour is introduced into indigenous cultures, diabetes “breaks out” amongst them. This is the situation we face in the Native American cultures today. The remedy of this situation first requires that we understand that type-2 onset diabetes is essentially healable through a 25-45% moderate low carbohydrate, 10-15% protein, 25-45% raw plant fat, whole food diet, combined with the use of specific herbs, vitamin, and mineral supplements, specific digestive enzymes, and moderate exercise. All of the Native Americans who have come to the Tree of Life Center US were rapidly healed with the exception of one person, although doing well, decided to quite the program because he didn’t feel ready for it.

One study shows that the Pima populations of Arizona have a diabetes rate of 50%, (others estimate 90%), which is 19 times higher than the average American- European population. Their genetic cousins, the Tara Humara Indians, who have maintained a traditional diet without white sugar have a rate closer to 5%. It is astounding that the focus of diabetic treatment in the tribes in Arizona is how to cut down on the amount of amputations, rather than how to prevent and reverse the diabetic process.

The Tree of Life Foundation Native American Diabetes Recovery Program (still in its fledgling stage) is dedicated to supporting Native Americans in completely eliminating the occurrence of diabetes, both at the individual and tribal levels. With Gabriel Cousens, M.D., M.D. (H), D.D., founder of the Tree of Life Foundation, who is also a four-year Native American Sundancer and Eagle Dancer, as their guide, the participants experience the necessary shift in diet and the comprehensive medical protocol for healing diabetes naturally. The foundation for lasting health is a specifically designed program that creates a shift from the “western industrialized diet”, presently mistaken for a “traditional” diet, to an authentic traditional, healthy, anti-diabetic one. Some of these traditional anti-diabetic foods are corn, mottled lima beans, white and yellow tepary beans, velvet mesquite pods, non-bitter Emory oak acorns, nolpalitos, bellotas, chia, mesquite meal, and prickly pear fruit.  Following this authentic traditional diet allowed the Native American cultures to be essentially free of diabetes for hundreds of years. Reincorporating this wisdom and practice into tribal life offers a return to individual and cultural health.

The Native American Natural Healing Diabetes and Prevention Program has unlimited expansion potential because the problem of the epidemic of diabetes, following the introduction of white sugar, white flour, and processed foods in Native American communities. The same problem exists in many indigenous cultures. It has the potential to expand from the Native American tribes in the United States and Canada to indigenous tribes in Mexico, Central and South America, Hawaii, and the Polynesian Islands. This program is offering a crucial vehicle for the natural healing of type-2 adult onset diabetes. The Tree of Life Foundation is committed to supporting the healing of diabetes throughout all indigenous cultures worldwide.

Our beginning goal is to initially develop village-based centers. There are three tribes near the Nogales border around Nogales-Sonora,  as well as the Pima Nation in southern Arizona, which we are beginning to work with on both sides of the US/Mexico border.

The prevention and healing support is particularly critical for success. It is composed of several components:

  • Extensive training of Native diabetes para-professionals and educators in each of their respective tribes is planned.
  • Making available healthy, organic food at cost, or below, in specific anti-diabetic nutrition stores on each reservation.
  • Micro-business support for local farmers to grow healthy, organic foods for the community will create hope and employment.
  • Creation of type-2  diabetes/high blood pressure health education and prevention centers on each reservation.
  • Significant education at all levels of the reservation and total community for all levels of schooling is needed.
  • Identify Native American medical personnel who will participate.
  • Activate community to politicize the issue and involve tribal councils.
  • Presently working with several national coordinators.

In addition to these local Arizona tribes and cross border tribes, there are currently a total of 573 federally recognized Native American tribes in the United States. In our Native American march to raise diabetes awareness, led by world-renowned elder and personal friend, the late Dennis Banks, across the US, Dennis’ estimate what that 90% of Native Americans have some level of the chronic diabetes degenerative syndrome. The official  estimate is a ridiculously low 16% diagnosed with type-2 diabetes and 47% diagnosed with pre-diabetes, which is  still approximately double the rate of diabetes amongst Caucasian Americans. This program is meant to prevent and/or heal diabetes through training Native Americans to be para-professionals for screening of diabetes  and high blood pressure and then nutritional counseling as needed. These Native American  para-professionals will be personally trained by Dr. Cousens.

Part of the holistic approach to diabetes prevention and treatment is food sovereignty , which, as I point out in my book, requires organic-veganic food as a primary and fundamental healing power for preventing and even curing diabetes. For this reason, this program aims to create food co-ops, support organic-veganic farming with the use of microloan  businesses as need for the different tribes. This also includes the purchase of greenhouses and understanding greenhouse technology for the communities in northern America and the 229 Alaska native villages, who are  classified as tribes. Because of the problems of GMO foods with corn, we are also working with several Native American groups who are growing  pure non-GMO seeds for basic Native American staples, such as corn. The third part of our program is establishing clean water systems, which may involve, depending on the situation, either new wells or reverse osmosis systems for entire villages.