November is Native American Heritage Month, a month to celebrate, honor, reflect, and learn about the traditions, culture, and stories of Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian communities.
From gathering to hunting, farming to fishing, native food traditions have been at the core of tribal communities and culture for hundreds of generations.
But when Native Americans were forced onto reservations, their traditional food systems and traditions were disrupted. They had to forge a new existence on unfamiliar land, separated from the geography and ecosystems that had been a part of their culture and lifelines for generations.
The treaties and acts that followed resulted in even more loss of land and even less access to their traditional hunting and farming sources.
Some of these treaties required the government to supply Native Americans with food, but the food was often poor quality with no concern for nutritional value.
The intent was “to prevent starvation rather than provide adequate nutrition, with a focus on ‘low-cost and shelf-stable’ options.”
As a result of all these policies, food insecurity is a very real and prevalent issue in Native American communities today.
That is why Running Strong’s food programs, including gardens and mobile markets, are so crucial in providing access to food for Native American families.
Our mission aims to ensure access to healthy food. Food security and sovereignty are critical to ensuring strong native families, and communities.