Skip to main content

USDA Announces Investments in Nutrition Education for Native American Families

WASHINGTON, March 7, 2012 – Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today joined tribal leaders from across the nation at the National Congress of American Indians to announce investments in positive nutrition education and physical activity habits that can lead to healthier lifestyles. The grants are funded through USDA's Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations FDPIR) and will provide nutrition education materials and resources for children and parents in tribal communities in 9 states.

"USDA is committed to working with tribal communities to drive economic growth, create opportunities through business and agriculture, and to improve the health and well-being of native families," said Vilsack. "These grants will help tribal communities promote healthy kids and healthy families by making sure they have access to nutritious food, education and the support they need to ensure healthy habits. With that winning combination we can help to reduce and prevent childhood obesity and ensure a stronger future for Indian country."

Each year, Indian Tribal Organizations and state agencies that administer FDPIR can apply for funding to expand nutrition education efforts. USDA chose 17 applicants, located in California, Minnesota, Montana, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Washington, Wisconsin, New Mexico and Alaska to receive FY 2012 funding to develop nutrition education projects that incorporate Dietary Guidelines recommendations within the Native American culture.

Projects chosen this year include a recipe toolkit containing menus, shopping lists, and snack ideas featuring more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; nutrition education sessions held during scheduled food deliveries for participants in remote reservation areas; and community gardens to promote fruit and vegetable consumption.

USDA chose grantees that will make a real difference in tribal communities. For example, one of the grantees will create a community garden to promote increased consumption of fruit and vegetables – an important recommendation in the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans and something we all should strive for. Other projects include the development of a recipe toolkit that offers tasty menus and shopping tips, and nutrition education for Indian reservations located in remote areas.

The following is the list of grantees:

  • Alaska Native Health Consortium (Anchorage, Alas.), $62,500
  • Hoopa Valley Food Distribution Program (Hoopa, Calif.), $52,804
  • Sherwood Valley Food Program (Willets, Calif.), $36,711
  • Quechan Food Distribution Department (Winterhaven, Calif.), $10,811
  • Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe (Cass Lake, Minn.), $45,703
  • Chippewa Cree Tribe of the Rocky Boy's Reservation (Box Elder, Mont.), $85,805
  • Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes (Pablo, Mont.), $78,738
  • The Chickasaw Nation (Ada, Okla.), $115,021
  • Cheyenne and Arapaho Food Distribution Program (Watonga, Okla.), $41,786
  • Seminole Nation of Oklahoma (Wewoka, Okla.), $17,749
  • Zuni Tribe of the Zuni Indian Reservation, (Zuni, N.M.), $18,489
  • Oglala Sioux Tribe of the Mountain Plains Nutrition Advisory Committee (Pine Ridge, S.D.), $45,000
  • Lummi Indian Business Council (Bellingham, Wash.), $79,931
  • South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency (Shelton, Wash.), $41,108
  • Red Cliff Band of Chippewa Indians Food Distribution Program for the Midwest Nutrition Advisory Committee (Bayfield, Wis.), $93,907
  • Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin (Keshena, Wis.), $45,860
  • Lac du Flambeau Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (Lac du Flambeau, Wis.), $39,950

FDPIR provides foods to low-income households living on Indian reservations and to American Indian households residing in approved areas near reservations or in Oklahoma. Many households participate in the FDPIR as an alternative to the Special Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as Food Stamps.

Since coming to USDA, at the direction of President Obama, Secretary Vilsack has made improving relations with Native American Tribes a priority. He launched an Office of Tribal Relations within the Office of the Secretary and directed all USDA agencies be thoughtful about tribal issues and to engage in Tribal consultation and collaboration. In 2010, USDA announced the settlement of the long-standing Keepseagle case to bring justice and some measure of relief to Native American farmers and ranchers. We've supported native communities with financial support for electric, broadband and waste water infrastructure, and provided native families and businesses with home and business grants and loans. And we are participating in the First Lady's Lets Move in Indian Country initiative to combat childhood obesity in tribal communities.


USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Office of Adjudication, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (866) 632-9992 (Toll-free Customer Service), (800) 877-8339 (Local or Federal relay), (866) 377-8642 (Relay voice users).