Diet, Sassafras and Isolation

This presentation examines the relationship between health and traditional American Indian diets. The scholar draws on the connections among three elements of pre-Colonial American Indian society – diet, sassafras, and isolation – to showcase their impact on American Indian health past and present. The discussion will look at the connections between these cultural elements and diabetes, which was absent among American Indians in early time and is remarkably frequent in modern American Indian communities. The presentation will use historical documents to illustrate the key themes and to highlight lessons can modern people take from this seemingly complex relationship.

Lectern, Writeable board