SPOTLIGHT ON DIABETES
For the 2001 Diabetes Month promotion the T'Souke Nation made cedar roses for a symbol of Aboriginal diabetes prevention and education.
This year I started working as the Aboriginal Diabetes Outreach Worker. I work in the Victoria area. I come from the T'Souke , Ditidaht, Songhees, Duncan and Namgis First Nations. I was holding a cedar rose one day and then thought to myself this cedar rose is a perfect symbol for Aboriginal diabetes awareness.
Traditionally gifts were presented to guests as payment for people to witness a family event. The T'Souke Nation gives this gift to you to remember Diabetes Awareness Month and to promote prevention and education of Aboriginal Diabetes.
By giving this gift to you I hope you remember to love yourself and others. Diabetes is a serious progressive disease. Some tips about diabetes are: eat well balanced meals three times a day (that means eat food from the four food groups of the Canada Food Guide). Try to eat proper food portions and keep junk food to a minimum. Exercise every other day for twenty minutes a day; try to handle stress (good and bad). Stress is a part of life, but it does not have to be harmful to your health.
It is important to prevent diabetes and to prevent complications from diabetes. Diabetes is diagnosed in Aboriginals at a younger age. As well, complications happen to Aboriginal Diabetics at a younger age. Some of these complications are; heart disease, kidney disease, amputations and blindness.
I want to thank the volunteers who helped make these roses. Thank you Geneve Mack, Gerald Amos, Gloria Amos, Denise George, Maureen Ellesworth, Debbie Miller/ Nelson, Larry Fletcher, Darlene Mcgougan , Sara Courage, Cheason George, Monique Taylor, Dawn Chisholm and our main rose maker Carolyn Memnook (who is also my weaving teacher).
In November we had a weekly diabetes awareness events with a healthy community lunch. We invited guest speakers, some of them were Dr. Douglas Wilson; B.C Aboriginal Network on Disabilities Society, Heart and Stroke Foundation, Shirley Alphonse (traditional speaker); the Canadian Diabetes Association; Jubilee Education Centre and then we spoke at the Nobody's perfect parent group.
I want to express my gratitude to the Elli Lilly representatives.
Enjoy these gifts and treat yourself well.
Northwest Coast First Nations have been utilizing the bark of cedar trees for four thousand years. Possibly further in history than four thousand years. The entire tree was and still is revered for spiritual qualities. The cedar provided a means of livelihood as well as objects that were required for daily living.
The objects that were made are: logs for longhouses, logs for canoes, wood for ceremonial regalia (examples: Masks, bedding, and clothing, head dresses). Baskets were made for hunting and gathering food and for cooking. Women enjoyed the praise and prestige that came from their skill in basketry and other weaving.
The art of Cedar Bark weaving is currently experiencing a revival. Thankfully the tree is still providing us with the raw materials required for First Nations Cedar art, to practice this historical art form.
Cedar Roses are a modern, contemporary art form, which people far and wide have come to enjoy.
The legend of the rose:
A man spoke aloud to the Creator one day; "Great Spirit, show me what Love looks like." Before the man appeared a rose. The Creator spoke, "This my son is what Love looks like."
Today people of all walks of life identify the symbol of love with the form of a rose.