Awakening The Spirit: A Diabetes Documentary

No one should have to fight diabetes alone.

In an effort to increase awareness about managing diabetes, the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians collaborated with the American Diabetes Association of Greater San Diego on a project called Awakening the Spirit.  

This mini documentary focuses on three Native men in southern California and several others from around Native country who have struggled with diabetes or pre-diabetes and have managed to take control of this disease. 

James Rodriguez (Mojave) exercises to keep his diabetes under control. 

Richard "Shot" Linton (Santa Ysabel) talks about the traditions of health and wellness in his culture, and how returning to these practices can save lives today. James Rodriguez (Mojave) is a recovered alcoholic who lost his kidneys to diabetes but never gave up the fight to get healthier. Bradley Guachino (Pala) is an MMA fighter who was once an overweight teen and now teaches Jiu Jitsu in his community to encourage healthy lifestyles.  

Lisa Man (Seminole) is pre-diabetic but stays active by dancing. 

Their stories show that it is possible to prevent, manage, and even recover from diabetes and related illnesses. 

Ronnie Whitehorse of the San Diego American Indian Health Center says that a lot of young people are in denial about their risk for diabetes, but that it's never too early to take preventative steps. 

The effects of diabetes on our Native communities is most often presented in terms of the statistics and not in the direct impacts on individuals and their loved ones. By working with the Awakening the Spirit program on projects like this short documentary, we are showing the Native people behind th e numbers and their stories of strength and resilience as well as ways to prevent diabetes.
— San Manuel Chairwoman Lynn Valbuena

Bradley Guachino (Pala) fought off diabetes through MMA training. 

For more information on help and healing through diabetes, please visit the Awakening the Spirit website

 http://www.diabetes.org/in-my-community/awareness-programs/american-indian-programs/awakening-the-spirit.html

Richard "Shot" Linton talks about managing diabetes through healthy lifestyles and traditional cultural practices.

Richard "Shot" Linton talks about managing diabetes through healthy lifestyles and traditional cultural practices.

*All Photos courtesy Albert Renteria Jr., www.thearrc.com