Home Ministry Advances Health and Nutrition Efforts Across Indian Country


Date: Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Contact: [email protected]

WASHINGTON – The Home Office today announced that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE) will set up Indigenous Food Centers for schools and detention centers run by the BIE to to help source indigenous foods, enhance culturally sound nutrition education, and strengthen training in the preparation of healthy, culturally appropriate foods.

The announcement was made as part of the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition and Healthwhich aims to galvanize the public and private sectors to holistically address the intersections of food, hunger, nutrition and health in order to achieve the goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity.

“Food is an integral part of Indigenous communities – it represents our connection to the Earth and the customs that have been passed down from generation to generation. Yet Indigenous communities face historically high rates of food insecurity and often lack access to healthy, affordable food,” said Secretary Deb Haaland. “The Biden-Harris administration is committed to improving food access and affordability across Indian Country, while also leveraging Indigenous knowledge to ensure Indigenous communities receive culturally sound nutrition education. appropriate.”

“Indigenous food is not just about nutrition. Food is an important part of Indigenous cultures, traditions, history and community,” said Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs Bryan Newland. “Indigenous Food Centers will work to provide healthier food to Indigenous communities and help repair the damage done to Indigenous foodways by the harmful policies of the past, including colonization, relocation and assimilation of tribal communities.

For the first time, a nutritionist will be hired to support the BIE and BIA in developing and implementing culturally appropriate nutrition and training standards that draw on Indigenous knowledge. Special efforts will be made to identify and connect indigenous vendors and producers, as well as community systems such as tribal food sovereignty and health programs.

The initiative will use indigenous knowledge to develop holistic approaches to support Indigenous movements for food sovereignty integrating culture, social determinants of health, food, nutrition, land management and regenerative agriculture. The initiative will include pilot centers in four BIE schools and four BIA detention centers to source food from indigenous producers and vendors, provide cook training and develop educational materials.

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