So we all know the statistics, facts and figures when it comes to death and disease in Indian Country. They are pretty grim. Lung cancer in Indian country is 83% higher than any other population and color cancer is 162% higher! We lead the country in diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. What caused us to get here? Colonization, Genocide, Assimilation, Boarding Schools, Historical Trauma are more than just that. It is something that has caused a lot of hurt in our communities that carried on into generations that we are healing from. Some communities have commercial tobacco use rates of up to 80%! That should be considered a state of emergency. In a sense, commercial tobacco abuse is a slow form of suicide.
Tobacco is a sacred gift from Creator used to help heal and bring us all together. I lost both of my grandfathers to lung cancer and also my dad. This is something that they did and many of our relatives did not have to die from.
It’s time we change the end of our story. We have our traditions, our protocols and teachings. Its time we begin to be number one and taking back our overall health and wellbeing. Our ancestors knew preventive medicines for cancer and all that we needed to do to take care of our health. An elder once said, we need to “Protect our Assets and our most precious resources are our people and ceremonies.”
The American Indian Cancer Foundation is doing just that. They are hosting the Pow-wow for Hope, May 4, 2013 in Minneapolis. This event is to raise awareness around cancer issues in Indian Country and how we can utilize our own indigenous knowledge to create solutions. They began doing this in the right way by listening to the ancestors from a dream. Offering tobacco and making it happen. MaRia A. Bird of Mea B’Fly designs has also designed a limited edition earring to help raise money for this cause to help find more solutions around cancer in Indian Country.
The Time is NOW. This collective will happen when we are all connecting together in a good way and staying true to our traditional ways.
For more information check out: http://www.powwowforhope.org
“Protecting our assets” by CoCo (Fresh) Villaluz
LRI-Tobacco Prevention CoCo “fresh” Villaluz