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12 Tribes and Native American Organizations Receive "Seeds of Native Health" Grants Totaling More Than $390,000 from First Nations Development Institute


First Nations Development Institute

LONGMONT, Colorado (May 16, 2016) – First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) today announced the awarding of 12 grants totaling $390,656 under the Seeds of Native Health campaign. Seeds of Native Health – created and funded by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) – is a major philanthropic effort to improve the nutrition of Native Americans across the country. It encompasses efforts to improve awareness of Native nutrition problems, promote wider application of proven best practices, and encourage additional work related to food access, education and research.


First Nations is one of SMSC’s strategic partners in the effort. The newly announced grantees below represent the second-year grantees under First Nations’ two-year partnership with SMSC. The grantees are:

  1. Choctaw Fresh Produce, Philadelphia, Mississippi, $30,000 – The "Choctaw Local Food Ambassador" program will hire an ambassador who will work to maximize the benefits of Choctaw Fresh Produce's organic food operations for tribal members, particularly youth and low-income members. Among other activities, it will include coordination of training in organic growing, farm tours, mobile market, on-reservation sales to tribal programs (e.g. schools, health center, resort), surveying community needs/desires relative to foods grown, and improving the weekly community-donation program to low-income individuals to ensure no fresh produce goes unused. The ambassador will also coordinate the transition of one of the mini-farms to a community farm, and possibly the conversion of a high tunnel to a community garden model.
  2. College of Menominee Nation, Keshena, Wisconsin, $34,332 – The “Strengthening Menominee Health and Native Food System” project will provide members living on the Menominee Reservation and in surrounding areas with food education that aligns with Menominee traditions, while improving access to locally-produced food. The college will increase production of traditional, healthy food through the cultivation of a garden; increase community members' financial accessibility to produce by implementing financial incentives for SNAP users and garden volunteers; educate Menominee students and elders about the history, cultivation, nutrition and culinary uses of traditional Menominee winter squash; and develop a five-year agriculture outreach business plan as a guide toward self-sufficient food initiatives.
  3. Kalispel Tribe of Indians, Usk, Washington, $28,270 – The “Kalispel Family Gardens” project will increase food security by increasing the number of family gardens and providing gardening support to community members. It will expand on existing gardens that are primarily youth projects and traditional gardens. A community educational effort will provide workshops that address food and garden-related subjects, preservation methods, and that support traditional foods revitalization.
  4. Klamath Tribal Health & Family Services, Klamath Falls, Oregon, $34,343 – The Chiloquin Community Kitchen/Food Security program will increase access to healthy foods in Chiloquin, Oregon, which has a population of about 750 people with about 60% being Klamath tribal members. This grant adds funding needed to complete the food security building renovation to create a commercial-grade community kitchen and learning classroom, food storage and distribution center.
  5. Nooksack Indian Tribe, Deming, Washington, $30,478 – The “Nooksack Seeds of Health” project will establish a local community garden for Nooksack Indian Tribe members. It supports public health goals by focusing on nutritional education classes to increase individual knowledge of food choices related to chronic disease prevention and health promotion, especially for health education and prevention relating to diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
  6. Great Lakes Indian Fish & Wildlife Commission, Odanah, Wisconsin, $31,336 – The "Manoomin - The Good Berry" project will work 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: Bad River (Wis.), Bay Mills (Mich.), Fond du Lac (Minn.), Keweenaw Bay (Mich.), Lac Courte Oreilles (Wis.), Lac du Flambeau (Wis.), Lac Vieux Desert (Mich.), Mille Lacs (Minn.), Red Cliff (Wis.), Sokaogon-Mole Lake (Wis.), and St. Croix (Wis.). The project will do this through facilitated community outreach at tribal community events and tribal youth programs.
  7. Oyate Teca Project, Kyle, South Dakota, $33,072 – The "Medicine Root Gardening Program" will provide American Indian youth and families direct access to fresh, healthy, locally-grown foods and entrepreneurial opportunity within the Medicine Root District on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Oyate Teca is a Native-controlled nonprofit, and it will use the funds to expand the program and to cover the costs of the instructor’s program and greenhouse supplies.
  8. Squaxin Island Tribe, Shelton, Washington, $32,385 – The "Squaxin Community Garden Project" will develop a tribal community garden on the Squaxin Island Reservation to sustainably improve food security and health outcomes for the community. The garden will be a tool for community members to build skills, grow healthy food, and build community through sustainable, small-scale agricultural production. The supportive programming will provide nutrition, food-preparation and preservation education.
  9. Mvskoke Loan Fund, Okmulgee, Oklahoma, $33,411 – The "Muscogee Creek Nation Food Safety and Accessibility Project" will allow the Muscogee Creek Nation to standardize food safety practices (based on current food safety standards) on existing tribally-owned farm and ranching operations in order to increase production and support local food-volume requirements. By aligning the current operations and partnering with local farmers and producers, convenient and affordable access points to fresh food will be created in rural communities within identified food-desert areas.
  10. Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College, New Town, North Dakota, $34,343 – The "Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College Full Circle Nutrition Program" is a garden-to-plate program to improve the cultural connection to food, nutrition, skills and education of college students and staff, optimally preparing them to disseminate these to the community at large. Components include garden planning, planting, care, harvesting, and food-preservation to serve the cafeteria and campus, as well as composting and nutrition education.
  11. Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes, Pablo, Montana, $34,343 – The “Healing the Jocko Valley" project will increase nutrition and health knowledge by providing gardening and healthy cooking activities through monthly classes; provide opportunities to gather, prepare and preserve traditional Salish foods; increase access to healthy, locally-produced foods through a community garden and individual family gardens; create a one-acre plot that will include a community garden, greenhouse, camas baking pit, dry meat rack, and tipi learning/gathering area to prepare and preserve traditional foods; create accompanying interdisciplinary curriculum that will be disseminated and promoted to other schools; develop the project as a replicable model with activity toolkits; and create a network and learning community.
  12. Northern California Tribal Court Coalition, Talent, Oregon, $34,343 – The "Tribal Food Purity Project" will respond to the concerns of coalition member tribes over unregulated chemical pesticides on and around tribal lands. In close consultation with tribal environmental professionals, the coalition will draft legislation to limit the release of chemical toxins and provide for enforcement mechanisms. Enacted pesticide legislation is considered critical for the tribes to safeguard the health and well-being of youth, elders, mothers and vulnerable individuals within its jurisdiction, and ensure that land- and water-based food resources can be safely harvested and consumed.

Seeds of Native Health is a comprehensive, national campaign to improve Native American nutrition through capacity building, education and research, supported by the SMSC. The campaign builds on localized efforts to solve the problems of Indian nutrition and hopes to raise awareness, spread knowledge, create capacity for change, and develop additional solutions on a broader scale. Learn more at


About First Nations Development Institute

For more than 35 years, using a three-pronged strategy of educating grassroots practitioners, advocating for systemic change, and capitalizing Indian communities, First Nations has been working to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities. First Nations serves Native American communities throughout the United States. For more information about First Nations, visit


About the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community

The SMSC is a federally recognized sovereign Indian tribe located southwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota. The SMSC has a deep-seated tradition of helping other tribes and Native American people. The Seeds of Native Health campaign represents a new extension of its long history of philanthropy, by committing a portion of its annual charitable giving to a dedicated purpose. Since opening its Gaming Enterprise in the 1990s, the SMSC has donated more than $300 million to organizations and causes and has contributed millions more to regional governments and infrastructure projects such as roads, water and sewer systems, and emergency services. For more information, visit