Wednesday, August 28, 2013

julian + the twinkie death tax

last month a councilman on the reservation introduced a bill to the navajo legislature called "the twinkie death tax."  the purpose of the bill was to tax junk food and to not tax fruits + vegetables (as is the current practice).  money raised from the tax would be used to build wellness centers in chapters across the 27,500 square mile reservation.  apparently the vote was close but ultimately the measure was defeated.

the grassroots group that organized to pass the legislation noted that the only time representatives from soft drink companies have attended chapter meetings and hearings on the rez was to speak out against it.  had it passed, the navajo nation would have been the first reservation in the country and one of the first municipalities to pass such a law.  fortunately, the legislation is going to be introduced again.

i contacted the diné community advocacy alliance who was responsible for spearheading the effort to pass the twinkie death tax hoping to generate some visuals in prominent places to support their efforts.

to this end, i visited 4 friends today who live nearby. i wanted to get a better idea of what people are eating.  it's one thing to talk abstractly about the rez being a food desert and another thing to get someone to open their refrigerator and cupboards.  three of the 4 friends have no running water or electricity which automatically limits what they eat.

i started the day with julian's mom, elaine, whom i've known for the 26 years i've worked here. she said on her limited income from working 4 hours/day at the senior center she had to choose between transportation and electricity and running water.  she chose transportation and has been without utilities for the past month or so.  fortunately, her garden has been proliferative this year.




elaine uses her refrigerator to store dried goods.


my friend julian said he's been without power for the past month or so as well.  he and his family have no running water either.  he has a small garden in which he's growing squash that's been sustaining them since the vegetables started to mature.


julian + his daughter with all the food in his house.


before leaving, julian took me over to show me his gym with homemade equipment where he also has some playground equipment for his daughter.  the next time i go back i'm going to have to get him to repeat what he said about his martial art style being influenced by bruce lee and how this style of martial arts was developed by a female monk.  (yeah, i know that doesn't make sense which is why i'll have to go back to get the story straight.)
















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