In FERN's latest story, FERN Editor-in-Chief Theodore Ross talks with Sean Sherman, the Native American chef, author, and activist about his restaurant Owamni and the politics of food. The interview was produced in partnership with Switchyard magazine as part of a special food issue.
The Native American Agriculture Fund, a trust created by the settlement of the Keepseagle class action lawsuit against the USDA, said on Wednesday it would invest $12 million to set up a lender dedicated to working with Native American producers.
Each spring, in Alaska's Sitka Sound, herring return to spawn, touching off a long-running clash between commercial fishers and the Tlingit tribe, whose subsistence harvest of herring roe has been going on for millennia, as Brett Simpson explains in FERN's latest story, published with The Nation.
Nearly half of Native American and Alaska Native households experienced food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the Native American Agriculture Fund, The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative and the Food Research & Action Center. The report urged “putting Tribal governments in the driver’s seat of feeding people” to create a more resilient food system.
When Covid-19 hit, intensifying hunger rates and limiting food access across the country, tribal communities drew on ancestral knowledge to mount a resilient response, said A-dae Romero-Briones, who directs Native agriculture and food systems programs at the First Nations Development Institute. “These long-buried behaviors would come up, and it was like honoring our ancestors,” she said. “To me, it was a renaissance.”
For all its cachet as a potential money-making crop for American farmers, industrial hemp ranked midway between safflower and flaxseed in plantings, with an estimated 230,000 acres in 2019, and industry leaders disagree whether 2020 will be a year of expansion or retrenchment. But the USDA is approving state plans to regulate hemp production and offering crop insurance for hemp growers, steps that could help establish the crop.
There are federal predecessors to the Trump administration's "Harvest Box" proposal, to provide half of food-stamp benefits in the form of a box of processed and packaged foods, says the NPR blog The Salt. "Among those horrified at the thought: American Indians who recognized this as the same type of federal food assistance that tribes have received for decades, with devastating implications for health."
Some 30 tribes are members of the newly formed Native Farm Bill Coalition, whose goal is influencing the 2018 farm bill, particularly on rural economic development issues, says Minnesota Public Radio.
During a visit to Utah next week, President Trump will announce that he is lopping a combined 2 million acres from the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, reducing them to 37 percent of their current size, said the Washington Post.
For generations, members of the Yurok tribe have fished for salmon in the Klamath River in the northwestern corner of California. "Salmon is essential to Yurok ceremonies, for food and for income," says Lisa Morehouse in a story for The California Report that was produced in partnership with FERN. "But this fall, the number of chinook salmon swimming up the Klamath was the lowest on record, threatening the tribe's entire culture and way of life."
After a controversial four-month review of 27 U.S. national monuments, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke won’t recommend that the White House do away with any of them. He did say, however, that “a handful of sites” could see their boundaries changed or shrunken, says the Associated Press.
Poor children growing up in three out of four rural counties — especially in the Great Plains — are more likely to earn more than the national average by the age of 26 than their counterparts in cities, says a national study by Stanford economist Raj Chetty. Just 29 percent of kids in densely populated urban centers earn more than the national average as adults.
At least the third study in a year has found that the rate of sea level rise is increasing. A recent report in Nature Climate Change said that the rate of sea level rise had grown from 2.2 millimeters per year in 1993 to a 3.3-millimeter annual rise in 2014.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke told the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources that he supports the White House's proposal to cut his department's budget by $1.6 billion, saying "this is what a balanced budget looks like."
Faced with climate change and cheap competition from countries like China, the American pine nut trade shows no signs of recovery. Long a staple food for Native American tribes in the Southwest, including the Navajo and Apache, 8 million pounds of pine nuts were wild-harvested in 1942, from New Mexico, Colorado, and Arizona.
During the first day of his tour of Bears Ears National Monument, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke disagreed with Utah officials who have claimed that Native Americans who support the monument are manipulated by special interest groups, says The Salt Lake Tribune.
Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has reversed plans to transfer control of the National Bison Range to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. When tribes called for the change in 2016, they claimed the federal government had taken the land from American Indians without their consent.
In a case that could have ramifications for farms and ranches across the arid west, a Native American tribe in Coachella, Calif., has set a new precedent for tribal ownership rights to groundwater.
Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke was sworn into office as Interior secretary soon after Senate confirmation by a 68-31 vote. In a statement, Zinke said, “I shall faithfully uphold Teddy Roosevelt’s belief that our treasured public lands are ‘for the benefit and enjoyment of the people’ and will work …