The USDA Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative promotes traditional food ways, Indian Country food and agriculture markets, and Indigenous health through foods tailored to American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) dietary needs. USDA is partnering with tribal-serving organizations on projects to reimagine federal food and agriculture programs from an Indigenous perspective and inform future USDA programs and policies.
“Sovereignty Gardens” Children’s Educational Animated Series
This series of short educational shows will help build excitement and pride with children about using Indigenous knowledge in gardening, food sovereignty, traditional foods, and healthy eating habits. “Sovereignty Gardens” uses animation and puppetry to follow Stompy the buffalo and his friend Bran through a series of learning adventures, which include cameos by Indigenous and scientific leaders. USDA Office of Tribal Relations entered into a cooperative agreement with Dr. Lee Francis (Pueblo of Laguna) (Indigi-Nerd/Native Realities) to create this animated series.
Incorporating Indigenous and FDPIR Foods: Recipes & Videos
Indigenous foods are nutritious, well-adapted to local climates, and serve an important role in traditional foodways. These recipes and videos show you how to add foraged and Indigenous foods to foods available through USDA’s Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). Learn how to make huckleberry smoothies, wild rice bowl, bison meatballs, and much more. In partnership with the North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS), the recipes and videos focus on foods in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Mountain Plains, Southwest, and Western regions.
Cooking Videos and Recipes
Midwest/Mountain Plains Regions
Foraging and Harvesting Indigenous and Wild Plants: Videos and Guides
Learn foraging basics with ethnobotany experts from the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Mountain Plains, and Southwest regions. Discover how common plants such as nettles, wild onion, milkweed, and mint can be harvested and transformed into delicious dishes and teas. The videos and guides highlight how sustainable foraging practices can increase nutrition security, promote Indigenous foods, and encourage more sustainable land conservation practices.
Best Practices for Foraging and Harvesting Indigenous and Wild Plants (PDF, 449 KB), prepared by Linda Black Elk and Lisa Iron Cloud
Mountain Plains Region
Mountain Plains Region Indigenous and Wild Plant List (PDF, 1.2 MB), prepared by Lisa Iron Cloud
Midwest Region Indigenous and Wild Plant List (PDF, 1.5 MB), prepared by Linda Black Elk
Southwest Region Indigenous and Wild Plant List (PDF, 1.1 MB), prepared by Addelina Lucero
Producer Handbook: Transitioning from Cattle to Bison – An Introduction
This handbook was created in partnership with Intertribal Buffalo Council (ITBC). It informs interested tribal communities and Native cattle producers about the process, costs, and factors involved in transitioning to bison production. The guide supports a broader initiative to restore buffalo to the land and help preserve Indigenous foodways for future generations.
Regional Indigenous Seed Saving Hubs
Created in partnership with Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance - Indigenous Seed Keepers Network (ISKN), six seed cleaning fanning mills were purchased and distributed to help establish regional Indigenous seed hubs. These fanning mills will help community partners to efficiently separate seeds, allow the preservation of hardiest varieties of plants, save time of seed cleaning and separation, provide seed cleaning accessibility to more farmers and community members, expand greater variety of local seeds to the communities, provide different grades of screens needed in cleaning different variety of seeds, and increase production times. Access and availability to the seed cleaning mills will also allow the communities to build capacity in collective processing, workshops and seed rematriation and sovereignty.
Midwest Region Seed Saving Hub
Ohe.laku (Oneida Nation)
Seeds Our Relatives, Miinikaanan Gidinawemaaganoog (Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa)
Bodwéwadmi Ktëgan-Forest County Potawatomi Community (Forest County Potawatomi)
Southwest/Western Region Seed Saving Hub
Fact Sheet: USDA Indigenous Food Sovereignty Initiative (PDF, 314 KB)