Diabetes Awareness & Prevention Month Begins with Proclamation and Farmers’ Market

Vice President Jonathan Nez is joined by Charlotte Francis, Johnny Basha and attendees for the signing ceremony for Navajo Nation Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Month.

Published November 3, 2017

WINDOW ROCK – Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez proclaimed November as Navajo Nation Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Month to raise awareness and encourage Diné to pursue healthier lifestyles.

“President Russell Begaye and myself are tackling the fight against diabetes and we are serious about the health and well-being of our People,” Vice President Nez said. “We encourage all Navajos to join in activities to raise awareness about diabetes and combat the disease.”

The signing ceremony for the proclamation took place at the inaugural Diné Bich’iiya’ Harvest Fest and Farmer’s Market on Nov. 1, which kick-starts Diabetes Awareness and Prevention Month. The event was hosted by Bashas’ Diné Market and Navajo Shopping Centers, Inc.

Johnny Basha, vice chairman of Bashas’ board of directors, and Charlotte Francis, acting program manager for Navajo Special Diabetes Project, were in attendance to show support for the initiative.

“If you do business here on the Navajo Nation then the well-being of our people should be a high priority,” Vice President Nez said. “I want to say thank you to Bashas’ for taking on that challenge and being with us here today.”

Recently, the Office of President and Vice President (OPVP) has worked with Bashas’ Diné Market to bring healthier food options to the stores, promote health education and host farmer’s markets.

Through discussions, Bashas’ agreed to move the junk food, such as chips and soda, into less noticeable areas of the store and to make more prominent the fruits and vegetables, which will be next to the new Starbucks that opens on Monday, Nov. 6 at 5:30 a.m.  There will be a grand re-opening for the Window Rock Bashas’ on Wednesday, Nov. 8.

The farmer’s market was brought together through a group effort, including OPVP, Bashas’ Diné Market, Navajo Special Diabetes Project, Navajo Shopping Centers, Inc., Navajo Department of Health, Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development and more.

During the event, there was a 5k and 2-mile run, free healthy food, presentations, and a candy exchange for youth who wanted to trade their Halloween candy for healthy incentives. Candy collected during the exchange, and all previous exchanges, will be given to military soldiers overseas.

Next year there will be more farmer’s markets at all seven Bashas’ locations across Navajo, not including the future location to be built in Sanders, Ariz.

President Begaye and Vice President Nez have advocated Congress to reauthorize funding for the Special Diabetes Project for Indians (SDPI).

SDPI funds the Navajo Special Diabetes Project, which sponsors numerous efforts to promote healthier lifestyles on Navajo. Funding for the program was set to run out by the end of the year, however, Congress extended funding for another three months.

At the time of the farmer’s market, President Begaye was in Washington D.C. meeting with policymakers asking them to continue supporting diabetes awareness and prevention programs.

The United States House of Representatives is expected to vote on SDPI either today, Nov. 2, or tomorrow on Nov. 3.

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