Native American Community Health Program Healthy People, Healthy Cultures, Healthy Land
Type 2 Diabetes rates are higher for Native Americans than any other group in the world. Diabetes in Native communities impacts a very high 12% of the population, with as high as 50% of adults in at least one tribe suffering from the disease. Indian Country’s health disparities disproportionately affect vulnerable, low-income people and are largely preventable.
For thousands of years, Native hunters and farmers sustained their people with nature's bounty — a balanced life of health and harmony in which diabetes was rare. But today, modern lifestyles and fast-food diets are causing a chronic cycle of ill health. For 30 years, Seva’s Native American Community Health Program has worked to reverse these destructive epidemics by helping Native American organizations develop self-reliant prevention strategies. Our community partners voice the vision, and we bring the financial, technical, and other resource to help the visions take root and grow. Featured program partners:
An overwhelming half of Alaska Native adults suffer from diabetes with very little food variety or affordability in the remote region of the Pacific Northwest Boroughs.
Seva has partnered with Ilinniagvik Attautchikun in restoring a traditional trading camp to prepare and distribute healthful native food staples from 11 salt and fresh water villages on the Kobuk River. Rooted in Inupiaq traditional ways, this inclusive program engages elders to teach children and teens to hunt, harvest and produce traditional goods to strengthen and maintain health and self development.
Among the Ihanktonwan Dakota (Yankton Sioux), community members identify that there is a critical lack of access to health activities and natural foods that prevent diabetes, obesity and other chronic stress-related diseases.
Seva’s partnership supports Brave Heart Society in efforts to recover existing indigenous knowledge on community gardens and the tribal value of food sovereignty—the ability to feed oneself. It also supports family group circles to discuss the impact of food on tribal survival for the generations to come.
The Bay Area Native American community faces disproportionately high rates of diabetes, heart diseases, obesity and other health issues. In local Alameda County alone, 6.9% of deaths among Native Americans were directly due to diabetes.
Seva’s partnership will kick-off Intertribal Friendship House's inter-generational gardening activities and nutrition and cooking classes, and connect these food practices with a weekly aerobic and dance class. This holistic approach to health is a strategy to reconnect the urban community with traditional health systems, thereby building pride and self-sufficiency.