Health | National

California Watch: Tribal clinic promotes traditional foods





"To walk into the central gathering space of the Potawot Health Village in Arcata, a multi-tribal health clinic, is to be made instantly aware of the concept of traditional native food as medicine. “Got Acorns?” reads a poster. “Got salmon?” “Got seaweed?”

Built, administered and owned by American Indians, Potawot is at the front line of a national resurgence among native peoples to address the link between the loss of ancestral native foods and disproportionate rates of diabetes and other chronic diseases.

California is home to more American Indians and Alaska Natives than any other state, with 107 federally recognized tribes, making diabetes a major community health issue. The statistics are sobering: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, from 1994 to 2004, there was a 68 percent increase in diabetes among native youth ages 15 to 19 across the country and a doubling of the diabetes rate among those 35 and younger."

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Tribal clinic uses native foods to fight diabetes (California Watch 4/12)