report illustrates the power of its Shakopee Mdewakanton partnership
to reach 6,000 Natives with farmers' markets, smokehouses and more
Nations Development Institute's new report illustrates the
significantly positive impact its work has had on Native American
communities under First Nations' participation in the Shakopee
Mdewakanton Sioux Community's (SMSC) Seeds of Native Health
campaign. (graphic courtesy of First Nations Development Institute)
For the Kalispel Tribe of Indians, the nearest grocery store
to its community is 20 miles away. "Even that store lacks fresh
and healthy foods. This project has really started community conversations
about food, especially the availability of healthy foods for our
people," said the Kalispel Tribe of Indians.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community's (SMSC) Seeds
of Native Health campaign supports grassroots practitioners
in Native communities that are working toward improving Native nutrition,
reversing chronic health problems, reducing extreme poverty and
reclaiming traditional foodways in Native communities. The initiative,
which focuses on the intersection between food, culture and youth,
does more than simply feed and provide nourishment it creates
connections that were once strong but have been weakened or lost.
The Shakopee Mdewakanton and First Nations' recently released
Food Sovereignty in Native Communities: Impact Report 2015-2016"
illustrates the positive impact of the Seeds of Native Health Grants
on more than 6,000 people in 53 Native American communities.
First Nations Development Institute was the largest of the SMSC's
Seeds of Native Health campaign's inaugural partners in its groundbreaking
Seeds of Native Health campaign, which was launched in 2015. Because
of First Nations' "longstanding expertise in efforts to eliminate
food insecurity, build the health of communities, and support entrepreneurship
and economic development," it received $1.4 million from the SMSC
for re-granting to and management of projects relating to food access,
sovereignty, and capacity building. During 2015 and 2016, First
Nations managed 30 separate grants under the program, supporting
tribes and Native organizations in numerous states across the U.S.
"Most of Indian Country is in a dietary health crisis. Supporting
local efforts to build community gardens and provide access to fresh
foods for vulnerable populations is critical to improving Native
peoples' well-being," said SMSC Chairman Charles R. Vig. "First
Nations' incredible expertise in this area has made them an ideal
partner to help tribes and communities address this crisis."
"Growing Food Sovereignty in Native Communities" finds that
the grants from First Nations led to the community partners/grantees
generating 63,613 pounds of harvested vegetables, 56,385 pounds
of harvested wild rice, 1,572 pounds of harvested fruit, and 102
pounds of grown medicine, in addition to the more than 250,000 fish
that were harvested. Fully 89 percent of these foods and medicines
were donated to community members for subsistence purposes. The
estimated food revenue that was saved and/or earned was $1.75 million,
with the local communities leveraging an additional $1.56 million
to support their community projects. These efforts served a total
of 6,319 people, including 1,386 elders and 2,555 Native youth.
Efforts included community gardens and smoke houses, farmers'
markets, farm-to-school programs, classes, workshops and other activities.
In addition, 129 new jobs and 859 food-related businesses were created
or supported, nine new tribal food policies were developed, and
two new traditional
foods curricula were prepared. First Nations also provided technical
assistance and training to grantees to assist with the long-term
sustainability of programs, including topics such as strategic planning,
business planning, financial recordkeeping, project management,
and various specialized technical trainings. The report also highlights
lessons learned from community partners that can further food sovereignty
and nutrition for Native communities and other partners, including
funders. The complete numbers can be found in the report, available
for free download from the Knowledge
Center on First Nations' website.
"There is a vibrant and active food sovereignty movement taking
place in Native communities, and the Seeds of Native Health campaign
has been a tremendous asset in furthering the work of this dynamic,
Native-led movement," noted Raymond Foxworth, First Nations' Vice
President of Grantmaking, Development and Communications. "The Growing
Food Sovereignty in Native Communities report documents Native innovation
when it comes to community-led solutions to improving local food
systems and Native nutrition. First Nations is honored to be a partner
of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community and the Seeds of Native
Health campaign that will have a lasting impact in growing strong
and healthy Native communities."
Seeds of Native Health is rooted in the understanding that prior
to colonization, Native peoples had self-sufficient and sustainable
food systems. Yet removal from traditional homelands and thus limited
access to traditional food sources, as well a transitions to cash
economies, among other things, weakened tribal food systems. Today,
many Native communities and households are food insecure and dependent
on outside food sources and Western food stuffs that are often linked
to negative and deteriorating health.
Seeds of Native Health helps Native communities create self-sufficient
food systems foundational to reversing years of colonization
aimed at the disintegration of cultural and traditional belief systems
and dismantling of Native social and economic systems, the report
Forty-three of the 53 communities served under the Seeds of
Native Health Initiative are located in counties that the USDA defines
as a food desert with an average poverty rate of 28 percent, compared
to 13.5 percent nationally. Among the 2016 and 2015 partners awarded
Seeds of Native Health funding were as follows.
U.S. National Average income is $56,116. For American Indians,
it's $36,252. Seeds of Native Health served communities with
an average income of $27,660. (graphic courtesy Seeds of Native
Health Impact Report 2015-16)
2016 Community Partners
Choctaw Fresh Produce Philadelphia, Mississippi | $33,418
The "Choctaw Local Food Ambassador" program hired an ambassador
to lead coordination of training in organic growing, farm tours,
mobile market, on-reservation sales to tribal programs, surveying
community needs/desires relative to foods grown, and more.
College of Menominee Nation Keshena, Wisconsin | $34,332
The "Strengthening Menominee Health and Native Food System" project
increased production of traditional, healthy food through the
cultivation of a garden, and it increased community members' financial
accessibility to produce by implementing financial incentives
for SNAP users and garden volunteers. It also educated Menominee
students and elders about the history of traditional Menominee
Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission Portland,
Oregon | $30,000
The commission worked with the four Columbia River tribes to
increase education about and adoption of food safety codes for
fisheries to comply with the federal Food Safety Modernization
Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes Pablo, Montana
The "Healing the Jocko Valley" project increased nutrition and
health knowledge by providing gardening and healthy cooking activities.
It also provided opportunities to gather, prepare and preserve
traditional foods, increased access to healthy, locally-produced
foods, and more.
Grasshopper Livestock Association Cibecue, Arizona |
The "Entrepreneurship and Growth Program" generated income for
association improvements and enhanced potential income for association
members through the sale of cattle to the Native Beef program
of LaBatt Foods.
Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission Odanah,
Wisconsin | $31,336
The "Manoomin The Good Berry" project worked to strengthen
local tribal food systems by increasing awareness of and access
to traditional Anishinaabe food knowledge, recipes and local tribal
wild rice harvesters for all 11 member tribal communities.
Kalispel Tribe of Indians Usk, Washington | $28,270
The "Kalispel Family Gardens" project increased food security
by increasing the number of family gardens and providing gardening
support to community members.
Klamath Tribal Health & Family Services Klamath Falls,
Oregon | $34,343
The "Chiloquin Community Kitchen/Food Security" program increased
access to healthy foods by completing renovations to the food
security building and creating a commercial-grade community kitchen,
learning classroom, food storage and distribution center.
Muckleshoot Indian Tribe Auburn, Washington | $17,418
The "Traditional Healthy Beverage Campaign" worked to reduce
youth consumption of sugary drinks and increase the consumption
of herbal teas, fruits and vegetables.
Nooksack Indian Tribe Deming, Washington | $30,478
The "Nooksack Seeds of Health" project established a local community
garden and other education opportunities for Nooksack Indian Tribe
Northern California Tribal Court Coalition Talent, Oregon
The "Tribal Food Purity Project" drafted legislation that will
limit the release of chemical toxins and ensure that land- and
water-based food resources can be safely harvested and consumed
today and for future generations.
Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College New Town, North Dakota
The "Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College Full Circle Nutrition Program"
is a garden-to-plate program that improves the cultural connection
to food, nutrition, skills and education of college students and
Oyate Networking Project/Oyate Teca Project Kyle, South
Dakota | $33,072
The grant supported the "Medicine Root Gardening Program."
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Red Lake, Minnesota
This grant supported the Red Lake Food Summit.
Squaxin Island Tribe Shelton, Washington | $32,385
The "Squaxin Community Garden Project" developed a tribal community
garden to sustainably improve food security and health outcomes
for the community.
2015 Community Partners
Bishop Paiute Tribe Bishop, California | $40,000
This project served tribal members by increasing access to traditional
and organic foods through the Tribal Food Sovereignty Farm and
the Tribal Community Market.
Igiugig Village Igiugig, Alaska | $39,794
This project increased food security through greenhouse-grown
fresh produce, training local residents in food preservation,
and promoting youth entrepreneurial opportunities through a traditional
Intertribal Agriculture Council Billings, Montana | $17,887
This project implemented a tribally-supported agriculture project
to improve access to healthy and traditional foods in the Great
Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Cass Lake, Minnesota | $33,743
This project created a community garden at the tribal school
that focuses on healthy and local meal choices.
Little Big Horn College Crow Agency, Montana | $12,500
This project promoted health through the exercise of gardening
and by building respect for growing one's own food.
Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative Okmulgee, Oklahoma
This project promoted healthy eating through gardening and education
classes on farming and gardening.
Nez Perce Tribe Lapwai, Idaho | $37,629
This project promoted good health, diet and exercise through
community gardening and the building of a smokehouse and pavilion
that is dedicated to processing local traditional foods.
North Leupp Family Farms Leupp, Arizona | $34,650
This project served the Navajo Nation by supporting family farmers
and increasing their access to retail outlets.
Painted Desert Demonstration Project, DBA the STAR School
Flagstaff, Arizona | $40,000
This project engaged young Navajo students in growing, processing,
cooking and serving meals to the community by constructing a greenhouse
adjacent to the community kitchen.
Pueblo of Nambé Santa Fe, New Mexico | $37,404
This project continued to teach the Indigenous traditional knowledge
of farming and agriculture by expanding the production of fresh
Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians Red Lake, Minnesota
This project worked to improve nutrition at the Red Lake Reservation
as well as stimulate the local food economy by educating community
members on growing their own food.
Seneca Diabetes Foundation Irving, New York | $32,040
The "White Corn Project" focused on the cultivation, processing
and distribution of white corn to the Seneca Nation.
"For the first time in the history of the Seneca Nation's Farmers'
market there was a supply of white corn products made available
to the public during the farmer market season. Access to this
traditional food will be long lasting thanks to the support of
the Seeds of Native Health," the Seneca Diabetes Foundation said
in the report.
Suquamish Tribe Suquamish, Washington | $28,773
This project brought together elders and other community members
through the building of five smokehouses, and developed a curriculum
to teach youth traditional skills to feed themselves and their
Zuni Youth Enrichment Project Zuni, New Mexico | $40,000
This project promoted small-scale local agriculture, improved
the local food system, and facilitated intergenerational knowledge
exchange by constructing an outdoor learning space and farmers'
Thunder Valley Community Development Corporation Porcupine,
South Dakota | $21,909
The organization assembled and coordinated a Lakota Food Sovereignty
Coalition, continued the successful community garden program,
and developed a sustainable agriculture demonstration farm and