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Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance Formed to Address the Immediate Need to Restore Native Food Systems

LONGMONT, Colorado (Nov. 7, 2013) – A new alliance has been formed that will address food security, hunger and nutrition in Native American communities.

The Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) is Native American-driven and controlled. It will be nationally active in addressing food security, health and cultural identity in Native American communities at the national, tribal and local levels. Overall, NAFSA’s goal is to develop a movement that gives voice to issues of Native food sovereignty, food-system control and policy development, and serve as a strong network for collaboration among various organizations engaged in Native food-system control.

NAFSA was initiated in 2012 by First Nations Development Institute (First Nations) in partnership with Taos County Economic Development Corporation (TCEDC) of Taos, New Mexico, and supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation of Battle Creek, Michigan. TCEDC is serving as the lead coordinator of the Alliance. “We are pleased to serve as a coordinator of NAFSA. Our goal is to work with the Founding Council to help organize and develop goals to be a voice that challenges barriers at all levels to Native food sovereignty,” said TCEDC’s Pati Martinson and Terrie Bad Hand.

“The creation of this alliance has been a long time coming – we really wanted to see this a decade ago – but we’ve got it underway now and expect things to move rapidly from here on out,” said Michael E. Roberts, president of First Nations. “It’s time that we give a big national Native voice to action, advocacy and policy about food sovereignty for American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians. We need this to regain control of our health and nutrition and to boost economic development in our Native communities.”

The NAFSA Founding Council met for the first time in October 2013 during First Nations’ 18th Annual L.E.A.D. Institute Conference at the Mystic Lake Casino Hotel in Prior Lake, Minnesota. The council members are:

• Clayton Brascoupe, Traditional Native American Farmers Association

• Les Brown, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

• Josie Chase, Oglala Lakota College

• Dan Cornelius, Intertribal Agriculture Council

• Dana Eldridge, Diné Policy Institute, Diné College

• Julie Garreau, Cheyenne River Youth Project

• Terrol Dew Johnson, Tohono O'odham Community Action

• Winona LaDuke, White Earth Land Recovery Project

• Jon Matthews, Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission

• Jeff Metoxen, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin

• Dave Monture, Intertribal Agriculture Council

• Loretta Oden, The Cultural Conservancy

• Tristan Reader, Tohono O'odham Community Action

• A-dae Romero, Cochiti Youth Experience

• Elvera Sargent, Akwesasne Freedom School

• Rita Williams, Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative

NAFSA Coordinators are:

• Terrie Bad Hand, Taos County Economic Development Corporation

• Pati Martinson, Taos County Economic Development Corporation

In its first meeting, developing a vision for the organization was the primary objective. The following call to action emerged in those discussions, and the Founding Council is now seeking input on it and recruiting additional partners to help promote food sovereignty in Native communities:

“Restoring Native food systems is an immediate and fundamental need for the continued survival and physical and spiritual well-being of Native peoples and our Mother Earth – now and into the future. The costs of doing nothing – and the potential benefits of action – are massive … We commit to take collective and individual action to address food sovereignty, and to build the necessary understanding and awareness among our peoples, nations, leaders and policymakers, as well as our youth and coming generations, to make it a continuing reality.”


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