Dr. Theresa Maresca

Lesson 4 – The Warrior

Lesson 4 – The Warrior

Goal: Role of the Warrior


Fighting the enemy

Activity: Watch Theresa Maresca’s interview on Video 3

Answer questions

Group discussion



When we hear the word warrior we immediately think of an American Indian sitting upon his horse, face and horse painted, with his bow and arrow ready to battle.  This image is depicted in movies, history books, and people’s minds because that is how the white writers have portrayed American Indians.

In many American Indian societies being a warrior is more than being capable of going to war with an enemy; warriors protect, provide food and water and help others. They are compassionate and caring people who use their physical, mental, and spiritual strengths to care for people less able, in essence they help to keep a state of harmony among their families, communities and tribal Nations.

Warriors are members of a community who will fight to protect the lives of those they love and care for, to protect their way of life, their lands and cultures to ensure there is a future for the next generation.

Warriors are everywhere utilizing different weapons such as their education and world experiences to teach others the truth about why we the First People of America are in a constant state of disharmony dating back to 500 years ago.

500 Years of Disease and Warfare

American Indian people didn’t suffer with many illnesses before the colonizers arrived because they observed their animal relatives using plants as cures and recognized the different environments that various plants survived in together along with the grasses, plants, foods, and water resources they shared with the animal and plant relatives.

This relationship created a respect for the sacrifices made by the animal and plant relatives along with ceremonies to honor the value of those relatives.  This relationship was disrupted and lost due to the governmental policies for removing our people off their lands and using policies to forbid the practice of their ceremonies in every possible way.

In the contemporary lives of today, we are influenced by ads and the pharmaceutical industry pays doctors and clinics to use their drugs on us so we have become a society with a lot of knowledge but little practice of that cultural knowledge.  We take pills to lose and control our weight, make us happy when we are depressed, and pay money to new age shamans to take us on a spiritual journey that will show us how to live a balanced life.

Warriors have transformed over the past 500 years, warriors are protecting our cultures and reviving the traditional ceremonies of healing along with reviving the medicines of our people.  These battles are helping the people diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes because our Indian people are facing amputations, heart attacks, loss of vision, and are dying from Type 2.  Inter-generational diseases are being experienced by grandmother/grandfather, mother/father, and our children’s children.   Obesity is leading our children towards diagnosis of pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes.   The lifestyles of today are killing our people with many chronic diseases and it is time to fight this in your communities just as Terry Maresca shares her role as a doctor in her Snoqualmie community.
Wide Problem of Diabetes, Starting in Young Children

What was so striking and frightening to me was the rates of diabetes were upwards of 70 percent of the population as diabetic as an adult.

Dr. Theresa Maresca - Mohawk

Terry Maresca speaks of the diabetes problem in a community of the Snoqualmie Nation where Terry is the physician, she also commented on the number of children being diagnosed with diabetes.

“These are children under 18 with type 2 diabetes.  The problem was so overwhelming, that for them it was at least getting them into what we call a registry to be able to try to quantify this and then trying to figure out how are we going to address this.  At the same time, the community having multiple dialysis centers, just the end stages of this disease.  You could see everything, from the very beginnings of the obese children who were now diabetics in need of treatment to end stage kidney disease with issues of dialysis.  It was absolutely heartbreaking.”

We see these comments and numbers in many Native communities suffering with diabetes it is about change and transformation through the use of our traditional knowledge and using western science in support of this health concern.

Warriors are anyone who is willing to take a stand against the enemy, the enemy at hand is Type 2 diabetes and it is attacking our children through the use of television ads, colorful boxes of high sugared cereals, soda drinks and sugared juice drinks.

Ways to fight the enemy

Plant Salvage Programs:

“What that means is that we know that there are sites that are being demolished for the construction of houses or schools or what have you, so some of these sites have opened themselves to the public to be able to harvest plants, to be able to save them.  Again, to me that is part of our traditional teachings.  If we don’t do something they are going to go away, even if it is a small effort to do that.  Ideally there would be legislation and other things on a broader scale to be able to save them.  We may not be able to do that today, but today we can do something.  So some of our students have actually gone out with us to be able to help during those plant salvages and to, in some cases, put them into the gardens or allow them to be part of the giveaway nursery that people can take medicines that they can use at the home.”

Exchange of Traditional Seeds:

“There’s a group that I’m familiar with in Arizona, called Native Seed Search, as a At the same time recognize the problem of diabetes across the nation, and are willing to send seeds anywhere in the country, but are asking for feedback, to say we wonder how this might work in the southeast, we wonder what it will do California, we wonder what it will do in Montana.  They want some feedback as part of the sharing of information.  These seeds have been saved by indigenous communities in our area and these are heirloom seeds.  These were seeds that were loved, and are being gifted to you.  And your responsibility to us is at least to let us know what is possible with these seeds.”

Learning about the different programs other Native communities are doing helps us to find ways to bring healthier foods into our community and our lives, they are sharing knowledge of their foods and this knowledge is being passed onto the children so that they can continue working towards building harmony in all the Native communities as well as educating the rest of the world about the traditional relationship with earth as the mother-“The Giver of Life.”


Who are the warriors of your community?  Take a paper and pencil make a list of people you see as warriors and write down a description of what they do as a warrior.

You are a warrior, write down how you can help protect your community and share knowledge with the children to help them live a healthy life.

Draw a picture of a plant, animal or mineral that you can use for food or as a cure.


Discuss the most memorable wars told or shown on television; who are the enemies and who are the conquerors.  How come the conquerors always seem to win?  How did those wars affect your life?


Write your  thoughts, feelings, or ideas of Type 2 diabetes , the next generation, the earth, and wars.