The Gift of Diabetes

The Gift of Diabetes

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"Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions among Indigenous peoples in Canada. Poor dietary habits, coupled with a sedentary lifestyle, have led to high incidences of obesity. These factors are believed to play a pivotal role in the onset of diabetes. Add to this the ever-increasing costs of drugs and treatments for a disease that has no cure and, clearly, a health crisis is close at hand. Ojibway filmmaker Brion Whitford lives with the pain of advanced diabetes. In 2001, complications from the disease left him with only 50 percent kidney function and blood sugar levels that were spiralling out of control. Having been raised in the city, Whitford grew up without knowing his culture or heritage. Consequently, he had little faith in traditional Indigenous medicine and healing. But the more his health deteriorated, the deeper his interest grew in connecting with his own culture and traditions. The Gift of Diabetes follows Whitford's struggle to regain his health by learning about The Medicine Wheel, a holistic tool grounded in an Indigenous understanding of the interconnectedness of all dimensions of life: the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. He also explores how the historical trauma of colonization continues to exert a negative influence over Indigenous people's psychological and physical well-being. Only by making peace with this fact and his own troubled past can he move forward to a healthier and better life. Whitford's journey is a moving account of a man coming to grips with his own mortality, while trying to re-establish balance in his life."

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  • director
    O. Brion Whitford
    John Paskievich
  • writer
    O. Brion Whitford
  • editor
    Don Steggles
  • producer
    Joe MacDonald
    John Paskievich
  • camera
    Charles Konowal
    Claude Savard
    John Paskievich
  • sound recordist
    Craig Lapp
    Russ Dyck
    Jay Garuk
    Marvin Polanski
    Norman Dugas
  • original music composer
    Richard Moody
  • narrator
    O. Brion Whitford
  • re-recording mixer
    Howard Rissin
  • sound editor
    Anita Lubosch
  • executive producer
    Michael Scott
    Graydon McCrea

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  • sabourinj22

    I would love to watch the film, please fix the site :)

    sabourinj22, 31 May 2015
  • Juan_Gutierrez_Mejia

    My admiration for Brion´s message, it is far much about wisdom, so many facts we do not stop to think about anymore. Truly a film all medical students need to see in order to understand the healers attitude more than just the medicine based evidence attitude.

    Juan_Gutierrez_Mejia, 17 Nov 2012
  • benjibee

    Such beauty. Thank you for this.

    benjibee, 14 Nov 2011
  • velehman

    Great to see the late Brion again, despite his terrible situation. He gave us a great gift. Passing this to some Med students who should really benefit from his insights.

    velehman, 20 Jun 2011
  • sherri-lynn

    I have watched this video a number of times with nursing students. We've often wondered how Brion is now. After reading Tiffany's post I am assuming that Brion has lost his battle? He was an inspiration!

    sherri-lynn, 20 Apr 2010
  • Tiffany

    I was very close to Brion, so when I watch this i feel sad, he is truly missed and I wish i had the chance to say goodbye. Brion was so gifted and talented and his dark sense of humor rubbed off on me and im glad for it, it made me strong and who i am today. I'm so lucky to have had Brion be a part of my whole life. if only he knew how much that mattered to me...

    Tiffany, 14 Apr 2010
  • profit_adwriter

    This film is an eye opener. The view of thinking Diabetes as a gift... wonderful. I now have a way that leads. Thank you.

    profit_adwriter, 19 Feb 2010