Report on Health Equity, Hunger and Nutrition in Indian Country Submitted to White House

Report on Health Equity, Hunger and Nutrition in Indian Country Submitted to White House

Jul 21, 2022

The Native Farm Bill Coalition (NFBC) and the Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) today released a report to the White House Conference on Health, Hunger, and Nutrition from two virtual Tribal listening sessions hosted in June 2022. The report provides substantive policy recommendations that can be accomplished through federal agency action and legislative change in food access, nutrition and health equity.

Recommendations were made in each of the five pillars of the White House Conference, including:

      • Improve food access and affordability: Improve credit access so Native producers can grow, raise, and market food products closer to home and expand self-determination opportunities.
      • Integrate nutrition and health: Partner with Tribes through cooperative agreements to launch more Native-led nutrition education programming through Indian Country. Tribes are better situated to provide culturally appropriate nutrition education programming to their citizens; however, without access to funding, Tribes are limited in doing so.
      • Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices: Establish Tribal authority to administer federal food and nutrition assistance programs. This will improve efficiency, reduce regulatory burdens, and support Tribal self-governance and self-determination. It also allows Tribes to tailor these programs to the specific needs of their communities at the local level.
      • Support physical activity for all: Supporting Native agriculture, especially beginning farmers and ranchers. Restoring connections between Native youth and food systems, when done in an Indigenous-led framework, provides opportunities for healthy movement, reconnects Native youth with culture and language around Native foodways, and improves food access for everyone in a Tribal community
      • Enhance nutrition and food security research: Include Native representation on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and disaggregate federal datasets so that Native people are no longer invisible.

These recommendations were created based on comments provided at both the June 10 and 20 virtual listening sessions and a NFBC Tribal caucus in advance of the Nation-to-Nation Virtual Tribal Consultation with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the White House.

“Indian Country must have a unified voice in advancing federal policies that increase access to nutritious foods in our communities, and these dedicated forums provide an opportunity for us to work together to lift up Indigenous voices as we work together to improve our communities,” said Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community Vice Chairman Cole Miller, Co-Chair of the NFBC.

“The White House Conference will gather stakeholders from across the Country. NAAF worked with Native Farm Bill Coalition to ensure that Indian Country’s voice is heard and that our Tribal communities are represented throughout every step of the process from planning to engagement,” says Toni Stanger-McLaughlin (Colville), CEO of NAAF.

To read the full report, please visit the NFBC website here.

About the Native American Agriculture Fund:

The Native American Agriculture Fund (NAAF) provides grants to eligible organizations for business assistance, agricultural education, technical support, and advocacy services to support Native farmers and ranchers. The charitable trust was created by the settlement of the landmark Keepseagle v. Vilsack class-action lawsuit. NAAF is the largest philanthropic organization devoted solely to serving the Native American farming and ranching community.

About the Native Farm Bill Coalition:

The Native Farm Bill Coalition (NFBC) brings together the voices of Tribes, intertribal organizations, other Native organizations and non-Native allies around the country to advocate with a strong, unified voice in Washington, D.C., to advance investments in Native agricultural production, rural infrastructure, economic development, conservation, and forestry. The NFBC is the largest-ever coordinated effort in Indian County around federal food, agriculture, and nutrition policy.

The NFBC was co-founded in 2017 by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, the Intertribal Agriculture Council, the National Congress of American Indians, and the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative as the Coalition’s official research partner. Since the Coalition’s launch, the NFBC has grown to include more than 300 Tribal Nations, intertribal organizations, and non-Native ally organizations.