stats Making the Business of Life Easier

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Canada's Apartheid, by John Stackhouse
  Nov. 3

Welcome to Harlem on the Prairies
  Nov. 3 (Saskatoon, SK)

Crystal's choice: The best of both worlds
  Nov. 5 (Mississauga, ON)

How the Mi'kmaq profit from fear
  Nov. 6 (Cape Breton, NS)

The healing power of hockey
  Nov. 7 (The Pas, MB)

Norma Rae of the Okanagan
  Nov. 8 (Westbank, BC)

Comic genius or 'niggers in red face'?
  Nov. 9 (Regina, SK)

Praying for a miracle
  Nov. 10 (Lac Ste. Anne, AB)

To have and to have not
  Nov. 12 (Moosonee, ON)

Trouble in paradise
  Nov. 19 (Tofino, BC)

A cut of the action
  Nov. 26 (Wabigoon, ON)

The young and the restless
  Dec. 3 (Ashern, MB)

The wireless warrior's digital dream
  Dec. 10 (Ottawa,ON)

'Everyone thought we were stupid'
  Dec. 14 (Salluit, QC)

First step: End the segregation
  Dec. 15 (Last in the series)


To have and to have not

Story by John Stackhouse. Photos by Patti Gower.
The Globe and Mail, November 12, 2001

Part 6 of 7: Moose Factory's epidemic

Moosonee, ON But what she knows she really must do is persuade her friends, neighbours and relatives to modify a new lifestyle that is killing the Crees of Canada's North.

After gulping the last of a Diet Pepsi, Wabano picks up a stack of patient files and enters a packed waiting room. Every seat is occupied with the very old, the very young and the very large. A good many people in Moose Factory are fat.

The pizza outlet, and a grocery store packed with potato chips and pop, are among the many reasons for an epidemic of obesity on the island that has produced extraordinary rates of adult-onset diabetes - roughly three times greater than the non-native average in Canada.

On one level, the reasons are thought to be very simple. Wabano's grandparents spent most of their lives on trap lines, engaged in demanding physical work while scrounging for food. Cree bodies had become accustomed to feasts and famines, and were very efficient at storing fat. Now, all they see is feasting. And a sedentary lifestyle through long winters on snowmobiles, not snowshoes, and summers on jet skis, not in canoes.

The federal government has given $64,000 to Weeneebayko to launch a new native diabetes program, although the hospital had requested $507,000. A local group has also started a "Chub Club." Its motto: Eat less, move more.

But Wabano knows how deeply Western ways permeate her culture. She remembers her first pizza the way she remembers the arrival of indoor plumbing. It was good.

THIS STORY AT A GLANCE (Parts 1 to 7):

Photo Essay
Gateway to the arctic

1. 'The first nations get much better health care'
A two-tier health-care system for two communities

2. A blessed Cree community
An island reserve with its own luxury hotel, cable TV company, shopping mall and elders home

3. The region's health care schism
Provincially run hospitals where Ottawa pays the bills for natives

4. Patching up the wounds of an afflicted society
"I'm not going to march down to the council chamber and say, `You have a problem with drugs' "

5. Health care in isolated communities
The only hope seems to lie in a MoCreeBec nurse-practitioner

6. Moose Factory's epidemic
Persuading her patients to modify a lifestyle that is killing the Crees of Canada's North

7. "I've never seen anything quite like this."
Cutting costs, merging two hospitals



photo essays
Two worlds - photo essay

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