USDA Announces New Resources to Empower Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Washington, November 14, 2022 – U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Commissioner Tom Vilsack today announced that the USDA Indigenous Food Announced new resources and a new agreement for the Sovereignty Initiative. Native (AI/AN) dietary needs. The USDA reimagines federal food and agriculture programs from an Indigenous perspective and partners with tribal service organizations in these projects to inform his USDA programs and policies for the future. The USDA Food Sovereignty Initiative is one of several initiatives announced at the 2021 White House Tribal Nations Summit to better serve tribal governments, citizens, and organizations.

“USDA is committed to empowering tribal self-determination and bringing indigenous perspectives to agriculture, food and nutrition,” said Vilsack. “These new videos, publications and guides support Indian Country and educate the wider farming community.”

The new resource will increase awareness of Indigenous and Indigenous foods among USDA and tribal youth, communities, and indigenous agricultural producers. Created in partnership with Tribal Service Organizations, these new resources include:

  • A user’s manual for interested ranchers titled “Transitioning from Cattle to Bison”, written in collaboration with the Intertribal Buffalo Council (ITBC).
  • Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance – Regional Seed Saving Hub created in partnership with the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network (ISKN). Six seed washing/fanning mills were purchased and distributed to help establish regional Indigenous seed hubs in the Midwest and Southwest/Western regions.
  • Wild and resident, produced in collaboration with foraging and ethnobotany experts Linda Black Elk, Lisa Iron Cloud (Oglala Su), and Adelina Lucero (Taos Pueblo/Yaki). 12 videos about foraging for coming plants. The video highlights how sustainable foraging practices increase nutritional security and promote sustainable indigenous foods. These videos focus on foraging in the Midwest, Mountain Plains, and Southwest regions.
  • 12 recipes and cooking videos featuring indigenous ingredients. Recipes and videos demonstrate how to integrate foraged indigenous foods with foods available through the USDA’s Food Distribution Program for Indian Reservations (FDPIR). In partnership with North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS), award-winning chefs and restaurateur chefs Sean Sherman (Oglala Sue) and Crystal Wapepa (Kickapoos of Oklahoma) feature in the video. Recipes and videos focus on foods from the Midwest, Mountain Plains, and Southwest/West regions.

In addition to these resources, USDA is also announcing new cooperative agreements with organizations serving tribes that expand USDA’s Indigenous Peoples Food Sovereignty initiative. These new agreements include:

  • USDA has partnered with Native Realities media company and Dr. Lee Francis (aka Indigi-Genius) to produce “Sovereignty Gardens,” a short-form digital media series that combines puppetry, animation and live-action video to engage indigenous youth. to participate in food sovereignty and gardening. .
  • USDA will partner with new foragers and new chefs to create additional recipes and videos on foraging and cooking Indigenous food in the Northeast and Southeast regions.
  • USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) will partner with two tribal land grant colleges (Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College and United Tribes Technical College) on Great Plains Indigenous seed and plant research. This research centers on Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (ITEK).
  • The USDA has partnered with the Intertribal Buffalo Council (ITBC) to develop a handbook on best practices for humane bison handling and harvesting in the field, providing a hands-on curriculum and food sovereignty for bison field processing and food sanitation. Create safety-focused training for A model of a mobile bison field processing trailer.

The USDA Indigenous Peoples Food Sovereignty Initiative builds on the commitments of the Biden-Harris Administration and the USDA to strengthen tribal self-determination, promote equity, remove barriers to services and programs, and incorporate indigenous perspectives into agriculture. Part.

For more information on these new USDA Indigenous Food Sovereignty resources, visit the USDA Office of Tribal Relations website.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans every day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris administration, the USDA will transform America’s food system, focusing on more resilient local and regional food production, promoting competition and fairer markets for all producers. , ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, and using new climate-smart food and forestry practices to improve markets and income streams for farmers and producers. , committed to equity across the sector by making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, removing systemic barriers and building a more representative workforce for America. For more information, please visit


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