In this article, I draw from ethnographic data collected on the Yakama Reservation from 2003 to 2009. I interviewed twenty participants using four
themes: experiences/observations of diabetes, causes of diabetes, barriers to
exercise and healthy eating, and ideas for fighting diabetes in the community.
I recruited participants with flyers and by word of mouth at key sites on the
reservation: at the tribal headquarters, churches, and schools. From the initial
recruitment, I used a snowball sample technique, asking each interviewee if
they could recommend another participant. Participants encouraged me to
think more broadly about the ‘field’ and urged me to include non-Indians in
my sample. Because of this feedback, I also interviewed whites who play an
important part in the reservation’s food supply: the head of a school lunch
program, a fast food franchise owner, and an executive at the local soft drink
company. Overall, interviews lasted 30–90 minutes. I gave participants the
option to be audio recorded during the interviews. Half of the interviews
were audio taped and transcribed, while half of the interviews were transcribed
from hand-written notes that I took during the interviews. Some participants
preferred not to be audio recorded, while others suggested background noises
would undermine the usefulness of audio recording, i.e. in a busy restaurant
during lunch hour. Interviews took place at a location of the participants’
choosing, including workplaces, churches, homes or restaurant settings. The
research conducted for this article builds upon my earlier work that examined
diabetes as a social problem on our reservation (Jacob 2004, 2008).
In addition to the interviews, I engaged in participant observation during my
thirty-four months of living on the reservation (on and off due to work circumstances) during the 2003–9 time period. Participant observatio
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