Breaking Down Barriers to Better Native American Nutrition
Last month, native leaders and advocates converged on Minneapolis for the first-ever Fertile Ground Leadership Institute. There were nearly 25 participants representing the broad cross-section of Indian Country – from tribes, native nonprofits, Indian health clinics, tribal economic development corporations and academic institutions.
The Institute grew out of our collaboration with the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community through the Voices for Healthy Kids initiative to engage native communities, their allies and funders to address the health and public health needs in Indian Country.
The Institute is designed to provide advanced training for Native Americans working for health and dietary well-being in their communities and searching for new ways to draw upon traditional knowledge to strengthen their effectiveness. Trainers provided an intensive, Native-led curriculum over two-and-a-half days that centered on skills development for community engagement rooted in traditional indigenous knowledge. Participants left the training with new tools for effective strategic campaign planning to advocate for access to healthier foods and navigating the historic trauma which hinders efforts to fully engage Native communities.
Participants were selected from more than 150 applications to participate in this unique native-led organizing training held June 11-13. There will be a similar leadership training institute held August 7-9 in Seattle.