Segments in this Video

Tohono O'odham Reservation (02:58)


Physical, economic, and social structures can affect health. Artist and activist Terrol Dew Johnson documents the Type II diabetes epidemic affecting 50% of his tribe. They are no longer self-sufficient farmers.

Gila River Reservation (02:56)

Akimel O'odham public involvement specialist Henrietta Lopez works with the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project. Her community has also suffered a Type II diabetes epidemic. Dr. Peter Bennett believes something in the Pima genetic makeup increases susceptibility to the disease.

Indigenous Common Denominator (05:03)

Genes involved in Type II diabetes are found worldwide. People dispossessed of ancestral land suffer higher rates. Dr. Donald Warne believes American Indian poverty is to blame. Learn about diabetes pathology and risk factors, including chronic stress.

Generations after Genocide (03:42)

Damming the Upper Gila River has deprived Arizona tribes of water for farming. The Coolidge Dam promised to provide water for all, but the Pima still lacked water. After thirty years, diabetes rates skyrocketed.

Government Commodity Food Assistance Program (02:42)

After Coolidge Dam was built, the government began distributing surplus foods to the Pima. Processed foods contributed to the Type II diabetes epidemic. Fresh produce was finally offered in 1996. Warne discusses social determinants of health, including identity.

Native American Epidemiology (01:28)

Lopez discusses white communities benefiting from the Pima’s loss of water and cultural identity. Diabetes rates are disproportionately high on reservations throughout the U.S. Poverty is a powerful predictor of health.

Arizona Water Settlements Act (04:09)

Tohono O'odham Elder and diabetic Margaret Acosta hopes to live until 100. The Pima have been fighting against economic interests and skepticism for water rights. In 2004, Arizona legislation returned some water to the tribe for farming.

Cultural and Economic Empowerment (03:06)

Bobby Stone shows his durum wheat fields. The Pima are hoping that farming will lead to improved healthcare, education, and social policy. Johnson photographs the graves of family members who died of diabetes.

Credits: Bad Sugar (03:14)

Credits: Bad Sugar

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Bad Sugar

Part of the Series : Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
3-Year Streaming Price: $69.95



This episode travels to the O'odham Indian reservations of southern Arizona, which are marked with the dubious distinction of perhaps the highest rates of type 2 diabetes in the world. There it explores a re-conceptualization of chronic disease as the body's response to "futurelessness," a condition arising from decades of oppression and historical trauma. It looks at the prospects for a new approach that places a community taking control of its own destiny as fundamental to regaining health.

Length: 31 minutes

Item#: BVL165940

Copyright date: ©2008

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.