Giving Compass' Take:

• The Center for Rural Affairs released a report last year that detailed the problems of access to healthy, culturally-appropriate food for the Santee Sioux people and strategies to help mitigate these food challenges. 

• How will the plans listed in the report, such as education and outreach initiatives, bring the Santee Sioux nation back to a sovereign food system?

• Read about the ways to expand opportunities for Native Americans through philanthropy. 

The Santee Sioux people largely lack access to healthy, culturally-appropriate foods that could help them combat health challenges, according to a report by the Center for Rural Affairs. “Digging In: Supporting a Healthy, Sustainable Food Future in Santee Sioux Nation." According to the report, the Santee Sioux people currently face numerous barriers to food access, including unemployment, poverty, limited food outlets, and a loss of cultural connection to food.

By asserting a desire to rebuild a sovereign food system, they can create a healthier community, revitalize traditional foods, create a self-sufficient food system, and develop a more resilient Nation.

The report details how the Santee Sioux people were a sovereign food nation prior to American colonization. They existed in a closed loop agricultural system in which they produced and preserved their own food from their own land, independent of outside governments and systems. This system ensured they had access to an abundant source of healthy food year-round.

Strategies are identified to enable the Santee Sioux people to create a food sovereignty plan and a self-sufficient food system. They include public education and outreach activities to engage more community members with the food system, such as gardening, farming, livestock management, hunting, or foraging for wild edibles and medicinal plants.

Read the full article on a sustainable food future by Eva Perroni at Food Tank