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Back to Basics: Indian Nation looks to the past to create healthier future

By Jane Derenowski
NBC News producer


The last part of the Back to Basics journey took me and NBC's Chief Science Correspondent Robert Bazell to the small town of Sells, Ariz. This is home to the Tohono O'odham Indian Nation. The Nation has recently struggled with alarmingly high rates of type 2 diabetes and obesity, but it is now looking to the past to create a healthier future. 

Years ago, they relied on farming and ate a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and grains. But along the way, the practice was abandoned along with many traditions.

Now, with the help of Nation elders, young and old alike are returning to the farms and reviving customs such as storytelling, O'odham dance, and singing.

The result: slow but steady progress toward better health and a re-birth of the Tohono O'odham culture.

Learn more about the Back to Basics series.

Part 1: Give kids time to play

Part 2: Take a social media break