Writer: Categories: Muckleshoot



To be a sovereign tribe, we need food sovereignty.? When our ancestors signed treaties, they made sure we’d be able to flourish physically, culturally, and spiritually for centuries to come.? Our Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project builds community food resources and helps knowledge keepers to share their gifts so we can sustain a healthy food system in the future for everyone.??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????-Valerie Segrest, Muckleshoot, Project Coordinator

Children in Muckleshoot Garden

In 2010, we started a project in the Muckleshoot community that focuses on building community food security through examining that tribe’s food assets, accessibility and production potential.? This program offers hands on workshops which feature the cultural teachings of some of our most revered traditional foods like salmon, camas, elk, berries and various traditional cooking methods.? We also assist in traditional foods feasts for community events and have coordinated the installation of three edible gardens.? These gardens feature both local and traditional foods and serve as both food production areas as well as educational spaces.

Harmony Blancher, Chippewa, Site Director for the Northwest Indian College Muckleshoot Campus, says:

The traditional plants program at Muckleshoot has been an awe inspiring experience for our students.? Each class has so much information for new and experienced learners.? The way the content is explained, including the use of storytelling, makes it easy to follow and understand.? Students experience and taste culture in a brand new way.? Students can’t seem to get enough. They want more!

Every initiative has been requested by community members, and completely relies on community participation in order to be successful.? Collectively, through this program, the Muckleshoot community has instigated over thirty initiatives in the first two years alone.? In 2013, community members came together to form a coalition that will develop food policy, organize tribal food purchasing power and develop a multi year food sovereignty plan by 2014.

Wendy Burdette, Muckleshoot, Elders Program Coordinator for the Muckleshoot Tribe, says:

Food sovereignty is important to us.? Historically, we had good access to many types of seasonal foods from a variety of ecosystems.? Sadly, this is no longer the case.? This program is great because it lets youth work with elders.? Cultural sharing is done the traditional way.? It’s passed along orally.??

Traditional Technology – Processing a Deer?from?Louie Gong?on?Vimeo.

The following articles are centered around the Muckleshoot Foods Sovereignty Project:

Honor and Restore the Rights of People to Feed Themselves,? Institute of Agriculture and Food Trade Policy (2012)

Traditional Foods Help Remind Us Who We Are, YES! Magazine (2012)

Women Leaders in Local Food & Agriculture, White House Blog?(2012)

Let’s Move! in Indian Country: Celebrating One Year of Progress, White House Blog (2012)

Food Empowerment: The Muckleshoot Tribe Reintroduces Traditional Fare, Indian Country Today (2012)

Muckleshoot Food Program Fosters Creative Solutions, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (2012)

Feeding the Spirit: Tribes Rediscover Traditional Foods, Bastyr University (2012)

Community Health Through Traditional Foods, Institute of Agriculture and Food Trade Policy (2012)

The Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project, Healthy King County Newsletter (2011)

Conference Notes: Traditional Foods Summit at the Society for Applied Anthropology, First People’s Blog (2011)

Muckleshoot Tribal Cooks Retreat, Puget Sound Food Network (2012)

?Muckleshoot Tribe is Reclaiming Their Health, Super Consciousness Magazine (2012)

The Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project Staff Bios:

Valerie Segrest, Community Nutritionist & Project Coordinator,?specializes in local and traditional foods. She is a graduate of the Northwest Indian College and received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University in 2009. Valerie teaches classes on traditional foods and medicines for the Northwest Indian College’s Cooperative Extension Department. As an enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, she serves her community through coordinating the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project. In 2010 she co-authored the book “Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit: Revitalizing Northwest Coastal Indian Food Culture”. In 2010 she was awarded a fellowship through the Institute of Agriculture and Trade Policy to further her work coordinating the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project. Valerie hopes to inspire and enlighten others about the importance of a nutrient-dense diet through a simple, common sense approach to eating.

Miguel Hernandez, Community Gardener & Project Assistant,?is a passionate plant educator whose work inspires others to maintain a healthy lifestyle through cultivating a relationship with the land. He is currently working on his associate’s degree at Northwest Indian College with a focus on Native American studies. He is also pursuing certificates in permaculture design and sustainable gardening skills. Miguel hopes to assist people in gaining a better working knowledge of gardening and model how to utilize our environment as a general health resource.

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