Judy Bluehorse Skelton

Lesson 4 – The Warrior: Protecting self and others

Goal: Exercise and Nutrition fighting diabetes


Activity: Listen to Judy’s life experience journey in Video

Do individual and group activities

When the warrior prepares for battle he knows he must be fit and strong like an athlete.  Athletes know they must get into athletic condition to win games.  The stronger person usually wins the battles, so in preparation you get in physical shape by exercising, getting fuel by eating nutritious foods and preparing your mental strength by learning how to play under the stress of attack and a fatigued mind.  Physical activity helps us become physically fit, but not everyone is active and many young people like to eat fast foods.

One of the things that happens to us as young people is we can be easily influenced by what the media projects as a necessity or is important to your image.  When Judy was asked if the media plays a role in contributing to your decision to eat fast foods and how processed foods contribute to diabetes in the increasing numbers of Native youth today.

Judy responds:

When young people, I am talking about younger than tenth grade, when sixth graders say, “I like McDonalds”…and here is the other thing, a lot of these fast foods are what the media does, is the media has cast these fast food places in a glamorous light. If you are hip, you are eating here, you are eating this, this is what you are going to do. If you are really hip, you are eating Taco Bell at 2:00 o’clock in the morning because they are open all night now.

Diabetes among Native youth is due to an inactive lifestyle along with eating foods that are high in carbohydrates and most times when you are out with friends you go to places that are associated with what has been seen in ads or on television.

Educating yourself about what kinds of ingredients are in the fast foods you consume will help in preventing you from getting diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.  When you are young and active you don’t think about what is in the foods you eat or that at some point in your life you may slow down and eventually your body doesn’t function as efficiently as it did when you were a teen or young adult.

Judy talks about the importance, treatment, and disrespect of the traditional Native foods as well how the government has genetically modified the seeds of corn.  They are also suffering from historical trauma due to the separation and relationship they, the plant relatives, shared with our ancestors.  And the traditional foods need protection just like you need to protect yourself from harmful foods

The current treatment of the plant world, allowing it to tear it apart, genetically, or to make it grow in a certain way, to force to people’s own will and then the fact that it is unceremonially gathered, it is not processed in a good way, it is not planted with any kind of song. It is not revered in any way. It is just a commodity. It is just something for the market. Well, then you are going to get sick. The Elders tell us that. You can’t grow food that way or gather food that way, and not have it make us physically sick.

If we are working on getting in physical shape but we aren’t being concerned about what kinds of foods we are eating we can still become ill or stricken with chronic diseases.  Preparing for a harmonic and balanced life means looking at all aspects of our daily life.  Looking at how historical events have affected generations of Native people helps you to understand how we as Native people had our lives disrupted and disconnected but also how we can experience those traumas through genetic memory.


Answer the following questions, think about why it is important to make changes in food consumption and include or increase physical activity for you personally.

· Why is eating the right foods important?

· Why is activity/exercise important?

· What happens when I eat sugary foods?

· What happens when I eat fatty foods?

· Why should I educate myself about traditional foods?

· Why is it important to protect traditional foods of my tribe?

· What can I do to prevent diabetes?

· How do I see historical trauma’s role in my life?


Group discussion topics:

If you were to make a food pyramid what would you include and how would you build your pyramid?

Why is traditional food gathering important?

What is the government doing to the foods we eat?

Diabetes is a household word in Indian Country, what do you know about diabetes and how can you help in preventing diabetes?


Journal Reflection

Reflect on the classroom exercise and group discussion, how have these experiences helped you and any other thoughts or ideas you may have.