The Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin hopes to combat serious
health problems among Native Americans by teaching other tribal
members to farm and preserve their own food.
About 350 people
are participating in the Second Annual Native Food Sovereignty
Summit in Ashwaubenon. Attendees say the event is in line with
younger members' interest in traditional foods and eating
healthier, Press-Gazette Media reported (http://gbpg.net/1t9R0a3
centerpiece of our culture to grow our food," said Woodrow
White, a project manager with the Ho-Chunk Nation education
department in Black River Falls. "We've gotten away from
going back into the soil. Tribes used to have massive gardens and
were very good gardeners. True organic gardeners."
say food produced locally could help combat health problems common
among Native Americans, including diabetes, heart disease and
obesity. Greg Matson, vice chairman of the Oneida Tribe, said the
event has helped to capture and stoke a cultural shift among
members of his tribe.
beginning to get engrained back into our way of life more,"
Matson said. "We're teaching that understanding at a younger
level in the school system; the role and responsibility of how we
should be treating our foods as medicine."
operate an organic farm, bison ranch and a cannery, which opened
in the 1970s and has expanded into new areas in recent years. The
event included tours of the operation.
The event also
aims to spark interest in developing a new generation of tribal
members interested in the agriculture sector.
attendance this week was U.S. Department of Agriculture Deputy
Secretary Krysta Harden, who said the department would support
anyone interested in new methods of sustainable farming.
conservation agency is here as well with a number of tools for
helping existing farmers expand or putting in new kinds of
conservation practices on their land," Harden said.