7 Families Share Inspirational Stories About Diabetes in Indian Country

Seven videos showing families dealing with diabetes in Indian country have been created at the University of Oklahoma as a way to inspire other families dealing with it.

Personal storytelling—long a key aspect of Native culture—can even be used to discuss diabetes in Indian country. A group of seven video stories showing Native parents and children talking about their struggles with diabetes have been released.

The videos were designed to inspire and encourage patients in Indian Health Service or tribal health clinic waiting rooms. The videos are meant for distribution across Indian country, and were funded and produced as part of a National Institute on Minority Health and Disparities/National Institutes of Health project at the University of Oklahoma College of Public Health.

Families who deal with diabetes in Indian country spent a few days creating and telling their stories to the video team, and each family chose the images and music that would be used. The videos allow them to share their successes in managing diabetes and talk about any stresses that come with diabetes care.

“These videos take us beyond the clinic and into Native homes to vividly show the heroics of Native families coping with diabetes,” said J. Neil Henderson, director of the University of Oklahoma’s American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center.


The videos about diabetes in Indian country include a story about a Pueblo grandmother who has experienced multiple “Fight for Life” helicopter rescues; a Pueblo mother who grew out of a rebellious teenage phase to have two children while combatting Type 1 diabetes; the family of a Southern Plains diabetic who sings Native gospel songs together; the daughter of an urban Indian family who has undergone two organ transplants; a national AI/AN advocate who donated a kidney to his daughter; a Native nurse supporting her diabetic daughter; and a rural reservation mom on dialysis who helps her son manage his health.

Watch all of their stories below:








The videos are also available on the University of Oklahoma American Indian Diabetes Prevention Center website.