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4,000K Walk for Diabetes Awareness Urges Return to Traditional Food SourcesSalem-News.com
Historic walk because of diabetes crisis, and for a return to traditional sources of food
(WASHINGTON DC) - The story from Survival International involves the devastating impact of corporate food on an indigenous community. It relates very directly to what is happening right now in the US as the corporate food industry is using government to destroy traditional sources of food: http://www.anh-usa.org/buying-
"[H]eritage or “old world” breeds—often being raised on small family farms—will now be defined as illegal “invasive species” and thus unjustly threatened with eradication. The order went into effect April 1, 2012. ....
This is, however, part of a much bigger problem. Right now you get paid less for beef cows if they are the “wrong” color. Generally feeder cattle that are uniform in color, regardless of what color, will sell for a higher price than those that are less uniform in color. (More information about the economics of cattle color can be found here.) But heritage-breed cows, a vital pool of genetic diversity, are almost always “the wrong color.” ...."
SURVIVAL INTERNATIONAL PRESS RELEASE
The initiative of a young Innu man, Michel Andrew (known as ‘Giant’), the walk aimed to raise awareness of the Innu’s escalating diabetes crisis and reconnect young Innu with nutshimit (‘the country’): the taiga, tundra and rocky barrens that sustained the Innu for millennia.
Giant’s walk began in the winter of 2009 as a solo journey; he left his community of Sheshatshiu with just an axe, toboggan, stove and tent.
During the final stage, approximately 40 Innu walkers joined Giant, crossing the frozen interior of sub-arctic Quebec and Labrador together. They ate caribou, partridge and porcupine hunted along the way.
Michel Andrew’s walk is thought to be the first crossing of Nitassinan since the once-nomadic Innu were pressurised into settling in communities in the 1950s and ‘60s by the government and Catholic Church.
Celebrations are taking place in the Labrador community of Sheshatshiu on Wednesday 18th April 2012, in what is thought to be one of the biggest gatherings of Innu in recent years.
‘There was zero diabetes among our people before, when our grandparents were living in the country, hunting and eating healthy country foods,’ said Giant. ‘Today, only a few families from my community go to nutshimit. They eat the white man’s food - canned food from the store - and drink alcohol.
‘It hurts me to think about it. I want my walk to show our people that our way of life in the country is a healthy life. Otherwise in another 10 years, what will happen? The whole community could have diabetes. Everybody could be losing limbs.'
Survival International’s Director Stephen Corry said today, ‘The walk has engendered self-esteem and collective pride in being Innu, which the government and Church tried so hard to erode. It shows that, despite the injustices and tragedies of recent years, the unique Innu spirit is still strong.’
Alex Andrew, organiser of ‘The Young Innu Cultural Health Walk’ is available for interviews on cell no: 001 709 897 4181
• For 7,500 years the Innu were semi-nomadic hunters, crossing Nitassinan in search of the vast herds of caribou that migrate across their land. Since their land was confiscated and they were pressurised into settling, rates of diabetes, alcoholism and suicide have soared.
• Settlement also coincided with a number of industrial developments on Innu territory, including mining concessions, hydropower schemes, forestry projects and road developments.
- Sheshatshiu 235 out of a population of 1500 (15%).
• In April 1999, the UN Human Rights Committee described the situation of Canada’s indigenous people as ‘the most pressing issue facing Canadians’, and condemned Canada for ‘extinguishing’ aboriginal peoples’ rights.
• Giant’s walk has become known as ‘The Young Innu Cultural Health Walk.’
• The book ‘Giant’s Dream – a healing journey through Nitassinan’, written by Nikashant Antane (Alex Andrew), is available from www.
• ‘We are One – a celebration of tribal peoples’ by Joanna Eede is available at http://www.
To read this story online: http://www.
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