By Tiffany Williams
Walking is an easy way to stay healthy and support your community. On May 23, approximately 550 members of the Hobbema community gathered at the Maskwacis Health Services for a two-kilometer Inter-Tribal Diabetes Walk to focus on staying healthy.
Patricia Goodwill Littlechild, executive director of the Maskwacis Health Services thinks that diabetes is a disease that is prevalent in Indigenous people of the world.
“It affects everyone and the walk is to prevent diabetes,” said Goodwill Littlechild. “At my age I would really like to ask the young people to take care of themselves and eat healthy and stay healthy. Type 2 diabetes is preventable if you live a healthy lifestyle.”
The main goal of the walk was awareness and how to live a healthy lifestyle. It was a fun morning with the Muskwachees radio station providing music to get the walkers ready for their trek.
Cliff Potts from the Samson Band was ready to get out and walk and help educate people who were there by leading by example.
“More than anything I’m here to promote diabetes awareness,” said Potts. “My family is susceptible to it and we have made more of an effort in the last few years to eat healthy.”
The health services also set up a testing area where young and old could get their blood sugar tested and get more information about the complex metabolic disorder.
Mary Moonias, Elder of Louis Bull and a certified Cree language teacher thinks it is very important to teach children the importance of living healthy.
“We should advise our young people to go back to traditional foods like picking berries and storing them for the winter, planting gardens and storing them. All of this takes exercise, dancing in pow wows is another way to stay active.”
Type 2 diabetes is where the pancreas may not be producing enough insulin or it might not be using the available insulin very well. There are many options available to someone with Type 2 diabetes including meal plans, pills or insulin injections.
Bert Bull, from the Louis Bull Council, has been with the walk since the start and also thinks that it is important to go back to traditional ways.
“Long ago sugar was not a part of our diet and we need to relay the message to the younger generation that they need to live healthy because they are our future.”
Moonias was pleased with the walk, which is in its tenth year and thinks it is a good start for their community.
“I’m really excited about the huge turn out here. People are starting to open their eyes to living healthy,” said Moonias. “I thank the Creator for this beautiful day and this is just the beginning of our healthy community..”