It’s a rare day when diabetes is cause to celebrate but that’s exactly what happened on August 2nd, when the Southside Walkers drew together nearly 100 people from within the community to “party” in celebration of individual and community efforts to fight diabetes. The celebration took place on the grounds of proud sponsors, American Indian OIC and featured American Indian themed arts & crafts, music and entertainment including local hip hop artists Tall Paul & Chase Manhatten, the Hoka Hey Singers and Aztec Dancers. When asked why the AIOIC got involved as a sponsor for the event, president Joe Hobot commented,”Increasing awareness of all the resources available to help prevent diabetes is important to the American Indian OIC because of the high rate of occurrence of diabetes in Native American communities–naturally we are vested in helping to change that.” According to the Indian Health Service, American Indians and Alaska Natives have the highest rates of Type 2 diabetes in the nation (Indianhealthservice.gov).
The first ever Beat Diabetes Party was planned by Amber White Bear along with Don Clark and other members of the Southside Walkers Team. Because of its success, event coordinator Amber White Bear predicts the Beat Diabetes Party will become an annual happening to build community as well as to raise funds to fight diabetes. Just who are the Southside Walkers!? They are individuals from the metro area American Indian community who formed a team to participate in the 2014 American Diabetes Foundation annual fundraiser, STEP OUT: WALK TO STOP DIABETES. All of the proceeds from both events go towards the American Diabetes Foundation, which provides both diabetes education and research for a cure. Helping American Indians learn about lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of diabetes is important for future prevention, and prevention is the mission of The Southside Walkers Team. According to Ms. Whitebear, they also have a short term mission: “Join our Team! Our goal is for the Southside Walkers to have critical mass on September 27th for the STEP OUT: WALK TO STOP DIABETES!” To join the Southside Walkers on Sept 27th, or to find out how to participate in future events contact Amber White Bear or Don Clark who can be reached by calling American Indian OIC at (612) 341-3358.