Health | Opinion

David Bender: Sioux family turns to traditional food again

"Taŋyáŋ yahípi—Welcome. My name is David Bender, and my goal is to raise awareness of food addiction.

The reason I write about battling food addiction is to save lives and protect our most valuable resource as a nation—our health. Before Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein explained evolution and relativity, respectively, we had been at one with our Mother and believed in the traditional Lakota Sioux prayer, Mitakuye Oyasin, honoring the oneness and harmony with all forms of life. All things are related—that was and still is our religion. Today, it’s considered a science and described as genetics.

As Indians, we make pledges to continue the tradition of honoring our planet, defending it side-by-side, warrior-to-warrior, nation-to-nation. But before we can fight for the survival of our natural habitat, we must fight for our health. That requires understanding and conquering the known epidemics of obesity and addiction. It is important to first realize that those two things are as new to Native people as bread and sugar were 500 years ago. It is also important to realize that bread and sugar are the building blocks of food addiction—the real gateway drugs, especially for American Indians.

How do I know all this? I was an addict and still am. Like many others, my family and I came face-to-face with our addictions the hard way and almost paid with our lives."

Get the Story:
David Bender: Native Family Turns to Its Roots to Combat Poor Health and Food Addiction (Indian Country Today 10/24)