Dr. Kari Norgaard, Sociologist, UC Davis 530-754-5457
Washington, D.C.- Today, the Washington Post
reported on a study by University of California
sociologist Dr. Kari Norgaard documenting how the denied access to traditional food sources has affected the physical health of members of the Karuk Tribe
The Karuk live along the Klamath River in Northern California.
Tribes and conservationists point to this report as the first clear link between the decline of Klamath River salmon due to dams and water mismanagement, and human health.
"As salmon in the Klamath River have dwindled, the Karuks have been forced to adopt a Western-style high starch diet," said Dr. Norgaard
"As the Tribe has been denied access to salmon, the incidence of diabetes and heart disease among tribal members has skyrocketed.
For the Karuk
, salmon once represented a staple of their diet.
Salmon is high in protein and Omega-3 fatty acids which have recently received much positive acclaim by the medical community.
According to Dr. Norgaard's
study, as the fishery has declined, rates of heart disease and diabetes for Karuk tribal members have reached levels two to three times higher than the national average.
According to Dr. Norgaard
, "early anthropologists studying the Klamath Basin Tribes, identified the Karuk
, Hupa and Yurok tribes as the wealthiest people in what is now known as California prior to contact with Europeans.
"It is ironic that today doctors around the nation are urging their patients to eat more salmon and adopt the kind of diet that the Karuk
enjoyed for thousands of years," concluded Dr. Norgaard