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Tribal Food Distribution Program Partnership with UTTC
By Wanda Agnew, PhD, RD-LRD, UTTC Nutrition and Foodservice Instructor
5 November 2012

Summer 2012 was the beginning of a partnership between USDA Food Distribution Programs for Indian Reservations (FDPIR) (commodities) and United Tribes Technical College Land Grant Program. The project was envisioned by an energetic Nutrition Education Committee serving Tribal Communities in the Mt Plains Denver Food and Nutrition Service area. Nutrition Committee members include Mary Greene-Trottier, Director Spirit Lake FDPIR, Red Gates, Director Standing Rock FDPIR, Theresa Lofton, Director Cheyenne River FDPIR, Ruth Rifle, Rosebud FDPIR, Melissa Coonce, Director United Tribes of Kansas and Iowa FDPIR and Joe Blue Horse, Director Oglala FDPIR.

United Tribes Technical College’s Land Grant Program is known for their nutrition training and nutrition resources. The Nutrition Education Committee invited UTTC into the partnership. Kara Four Bear, UTTC graduate with a Bachelors of Science degree in Elementary Education, served as the curriculum creator and trainer. In addition, Kara created a website where local communities could show their children in action during the Camps www.2012youthcookingcamps.com.

The five Tribal communities hosting Camps in 2012 included Spirit Lake in North Dakota, Rocky Boy in Montana, Cheyenne River, Rosebud and Oglala in South Dakota. The curriculum is unique with a cultural context supporting science-based health activities relating to moving more and eating smarter. Camp participants spent five days learning to cook, practice planting seeds, participate in traditional games and jumping rope, and doing science experiments. Youth were encouraged to enter all physical activities into a computer program which led to a certificate titled “Presidential Active Lifestyle Award” www.presidentschallenge.org and prepared personal MyPlates. USDA was very pleased and plans to offer the curriculum to Tribal communities in other Regions across the Nation. Each week culminated in a Friday Celebration Event featuring a motivational speaker, individualized photo display, awareness walk, and recognition ceremony. Discussion has started regarding continuation funds for 2013 with potential to expand into additional communities.

UTTC assisted local communities in hiring Interns, currently or previously enrolled at a Tribal College, to collaborate with them and serve as “local facilitators”. Wanda Agnew, PhD, RD-LRD, UTTC Nutrition Educator, was pleased with this unintended positive impact and said, “Tribal Colleges are making a difference and students serving in leadership roles in their local community will positively impact health.”

 

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