The Hualapai Tribe’s approximate 1 million reservation in northwest Arizona is home to 1,433 people, with most living in or near the Tribe’s capital and only town center Peach Springs, AZ. Of the residents, 97% are American Indians and most are enrolled members of the Hualapai Tribe. Over 38% of community members report speaking a language other than English, assumedly Hualapai, at home. The mean household income is $36,063 with 33.6% living 100% below the Federal Poverty Line (FPL) and 65.7% living 200% below the FPL. The Hualapai community is rural with 2.1 people per square mile of land. Peach Springs has a convenience food store and gas station, but the closest supermarket offering a wide array of fresh fruits and vegetables is 55 miles west in Kingman, AZ. The community is served by a small, outpatient Indian Health Service clinic; specialty medical services are only available off reservation requiring a minimum travel distance of 110 miles round trip. The community suffers disproportionately high rates of chronic disease, specifically obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and mental and emotional distress in comparison to other races in the US. These conditions can be prevented or managed by increasing consumption of high fiber, low fat foods, regular physical activity and addressing feelings of social isolation and cultural disconnection. The Hualapai Tribal Practices for Wellness in Indian Country (TPWC) will increase Hualapai community members’ familiarity and knowledge of cultural teachings and practices, and coordinate social and cultural activities to strengthen their connection with family and community as venues to promote community health and wellness. The TPWIC Project will increase Hualapai community members’ familiarity and knowledge of traditional foods as a strategy to promote healthy food choices and to reconnect with the wisdom, strength and resilience of ancestors. Collectively, these connections and the revitalization o
f traditional practices will reduce the risk factors associated with high rates of chronic disease. At the end of the 5-year funding period, the expected outcomes of the Hualapai TPWIC Project are to enhance the overall health and wellness of the community through an increase in the sense of cultural connectedness, sense of social connectedness (Strategies 1 and 3), familiarity with traditional food collection, preparation and storage and consumption of traditional foods (Strategy 6).
Long-term, the Hualapai TPWIC Project expects that these changes in knowledge and behavior will contribute to increased collective resilience and mental and emotional well-being, and a reduction in the risk factors contributing to diabetes, heart disease, cancer and mental and emotional distress.