Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | GrandCanyonTourGuide.com
Navajo-Hopi Observer | Flagstaff, Arizona

home : opinions : opinions November 24, 2015

2/11/2014 10:39:00 AM
Letter to the editor: Junk food tax a step in the right direction

To the editor:

On the Navajo Nation, our Diné people have been suffering from the epidemic of obesity and diabetes. This suffering has become almost normal for many of our people - this reality needs to change. Last week, the 22nd Navajo Nation Council enacted two pieces of legislation pursued by the Diné Community Advocacy Alliance to eliminate sales tax on healthy foods and to implement a tax on unhealthy foods known as the Healthy Diné Nation Act. It is very encouraging that the Healthy Diné Nation Act is focused on healthy living for our Diné people.

As a Navajo Zumba fitness instructor on the reservation, I am continuously inspired by my students of all ages from as young as 5 to as old as 65. They are examples of the Diné people who are working hard to pursue active healthy lifestyles. I see more community members interested in exercise and fitness but the environment is sometimes not supportive. Our community stores are bombarded with junk food, processed foods, and packaged foods that do not provide adequate nutrition for our children, teenagers, families, elders and my students. Not only is our community in need of healthy foods but so is our entire reservation - we need fresh, quality, and healthy foods widely available and affordable.

I understand not everyone is going to exercise and pursue fitness activities, so I believe it is very relevant to start addressing our fast food and junk food centered diet. We can approach our reservation-wide health problems by eating more colorful, nutritious and healthy food. This is a start to help our people recognize that we need to go back to the ways of our elders - eating locally grown foods, gardening, farming, ranching - while getting plenty of exercise.

We have the answer to health right in front of us. I commend companies like the Navajo Engineering Construction Authority (NECA) that are integrating fitness classes and health education classes for its employees. We need to take responsibility of our health problems and start implementing solutions so that we can have a healthy future.

The two pieces of legislation are one way we can start reclaiming our health and we can set the standard for other tribes to follow our healthy lead. This is a very sensitive and historical time so I am kindly asking and pleading for President Shelly to sign the two pieces of legislation into law.

It is important to see initiatives like these to start impacting our reservation so we can start reversing sickness and disease. It is due time for us to be healthy like our elders once were so we can dance to a lifetime of health.

Tanya Henderson

Shiprock, New Mexico

    Recently Commented    
Mapmaker continues quest to document indigenous cultures
New documentary focuses on Native American veterans on Navajo Nation
Letter to the editor: Where do children learn to speak fluent Navajo?
Delegate Edmund Yazzie continues work for Thoreau, N.M. clinic
Pirates of the Navajo Nation under attack

Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. The email and phone info you provide will not be visible to the public. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to 1300 characters or less. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit your comment entries to five(5) per day.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Flagstaff, AZ
Click for weather forecast

Submission links
 •  Submit site feedback or questions

Find It Opinions Features Submit Extras Other Publications
Home | Classifieds | Place an Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Milestones | Contact Us | Subscribe | e-newsletter | RSS | Site Map
© Copyright 2015 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Navajo-Hopi Observer is the information source for the Navajo and Hopi Nations and Winslow area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, nhonews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the site's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Navajo-Hopi Observer Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2015 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved