WELCH, Minn. – The Prairie Island Indian Community understands the serious health issues associated with diabetes. Type 2 diabetes among Native Americans in the United States is 12.2 percent for those who are 19 years and older. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions among the Native American population and complications from diabetes are major causes of death and health issues. Another concern is that Type 2 diabetes is becoming more frequent in the population of Native American youth.
In an effort to support the battle of this serious disease, $20,000 was presented on behalf of the Prairie Island Indian Community to the American Diabetes Association at its 2009 Annual Gala held at the Saint Paul RiverCentre.
“The Prairie Island Indian Community’s support of the American Diabetes Association is just one aspect of how the community is working together to fight this disease,” said Tribal Council President Ron Johnson. “The Prairie Island Indian Community Clinic provides the best possible diabetes care and education for our members. We partner with the Mayo Clinic and Fairview Red Wing Medical Center as well as bring in an expert in the diabetes field to our clinic every month.”
The community also maintains a herd of buffalo for the benefit of all members, called the Edwin Buck Jr. Memorial Project. This effort combines the spiritual significance of the buffalo in the Native American heritage with a modern day need for a healthy form of protein. The herd began in March 1992 with one male bison bull and has grown to more than 35 bison. Several times a year Prairie Island families are given buffalo meat, which is a healthy, lean meat and a good choice for those who suffer from diabetes or may be susceptible to the disease.
“The Prairie Island Indian Community has a strong history of giving over the years,” said Treasure Island General Manager Allan Kronberg. “We believe that by working on a local level in the Prairie Island Indian Community and supporting the national American Diabetes Association efforts, we will be able to make significant strides in controlling and eventually beating this disease.”