This spring, Running Strong for American Indian Youth® has helped to secure three grants totaling $72,594 for the Oyate Teca Project’s youth gardening program known as the Medicine Root Gardening Project in Kyle, South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.
The First Nations Development Institute (FDNI) awarded a grant in the amount of $33,072, the Notah Begay III Foundation (NB3F) awarded a grant of $29,522, and the South Dakota Community Foundation (SDCF) awarded a grant of $10,000 to the project.
The grant funding will be used to expand the Oyate Teca Medicine Root program and provide the funds necessary for the costs of instructors and program supplies, which will help them improve access to healthy foods and develop their own nutritional health strategies.
The FDNI and NB3F grants were awarded through the “Seeds of Native Health” grant program under the Native Agriculture and Food Systems Initiative (NAFSI). The grant was made possible through the generous support from the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community.
Regarding the “Seeds of Native Health” Promising Program Grant, SMSC Secretary/Treasurer Lori Watso stated:
“Native American tribes are in the best position to improve the health of their own people. Funding and technical assistance through these grants will help tribes develop their own nutritional health strategies.”
Olivia Roanhorse, Director of NB3’s Native Strong Program, stated, “Improving access to healthy foods and increasing nutrition education for our children will require varying approaches and strategies. This funding supports community health assessments and planning to do this.”
The “Seeds of Native Health” 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.
The SDCF administers more than $219 million in assets for more than 760 endowed funds and provides grants and administrative support to nonprofit organizations and serves as a philanthropic resource for donors, advisors and nonprofits throughout the state.
The goal of the Medicine Root Gardening Program is to increase the availability of fresh, healthy, locally produced foods grown by and for youth and learn practical cooking and canning skills serving these nutritious foods.