Special Bulletin: Native American Heritage Month, November 2022

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U.S. Department of Agriculture

Special Bulletin: Native American Heritage Month

November 2022

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Recognizing Native American Heritage Month

Food Distribution

November is Native American Heritage Month, and USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) is highlighting the resources and programs dedicated to advancing nutrition security in tribal communities through this special bulletin.

Photo Credit: Bob Nichols. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians

Resource Round-Up

Cooking Demonstration

$4 Million Administrative Funds for Nutrition Education

With an additional $4 million ($4M) in FDPIR administrative funding, FNS is providing more dedicated funds to FDPIR Indian Tribal Organizations (ITOs) for nutrition education activities. The $4 million represents a 16-fold increase over previous annual funding levels of $250,000 for nutrition education. The funds will support a variety of nutrition education activities based on the requests of participating ITOs.

Wild Rice

FDPIR Self-Determination Demonstration Project

The 2018 Farm Bill authorized USDA to establish a demonstration project for one or more tribal organizations administering FDPIR to enter into self-determination contracts to purchase USDA Foods for the FDPIR food package for their tribe.

FDPIR Self-Determination Demonstration Projects:

  • Support Tribal self-governance by allowing participating Tribes to purchase similar foods of their choosing, supporting Tribal dietary preferences;
  • Allow Tribes to purchase foods through commercial vendors of their choice; 
  • Support Tribal economies as Tribes may choose to contract with local, regional, and/or Tribal vendors; and
  • Provide FNS with an opportunity to see how Tribal procurement may work under a food distribution program model across region, program size, and food selection.

Visit the FDPIR Self-Determination Demonstration Project website for more information and check out a new video showcasing the Oneida Nation/ Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin self-determination demonstration project, provided courtesy of The Self-Governance Communication & Education Tribal Consortium (SGCETC).

Photo: Wild rice grown and processed by Spirit Lake Native Farms; Oneida and Menominee purchase and distribute the wild rice to FDPIR participants with self-determination contract funds.

Ground Beef

FDPIR Self-Determination Demonstration Project Expansion (Round 2)

The USDA FNS is soliciting a second round of proposals for the FDPIR Self-Determination Demonstration Project through a new Federal Register notice that was published October 18, 2022. Through the demonstration project, Tribal Organizations administering FDPIR can enter into self-determination contracts with USDA to purchase their own foods for the FDPIR food packages distributed to their Tribal members who participate in the program. This demonstration project is authorized under The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-334), also known as the 2018 Farm Bill.

Response to this Federal Register solicitation is available to Tribal Organizations that administer FDPIR and have not previously been awarded a self-determination contract through the demonstration project. Tribal Organizations will be selected on a competitive basis and funding will be awarded through a self-determination contract. Eligible Tribal Organizations are encouraged to apply for FDPIR Self-Determination Demonstration Project funding by submitting a proposal for participation by January 31, 2023. Information about eligibility, the criteria for participation, and the process for submitting a proposal is available in the FNS Solicitation of Proposals, published in the Federal Register at this link.

Questions about the Federal Register notice may be submitted to FDPIR-RC@usda.gov.

Photo Credit: Chickasaw Nation. The beef products shown come from Rolland Ranch Beef, LLC, a Tribally-owned and family-operated ranch in Checotah, Oklahoma. 


Tribal Resources from MyPlate

MyPlate, the official symbol of the five food groups, is a communication tool based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to help consumers make better food choices.

MyPlate has many nutrition education resources to support tribal communities including: 

  • MyPlate Kitchen -- MyPlate Kitchen provides recipes and resources to support healthy and budget-friendly meals. Recipes are “MyPlate-inspired” and emphasize nutrient-rich options from the food groups including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat or fat-free dairy milk and yogurt (or lactose-free dairy and fortified soy versions). MyPlate Kitchen also includes recipes from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). 
  • MyPlate Quiz -- The MyPlate Quiz is an interactive online tool that consumers can use to assess their eating behaviors and interests to receive personalized nutrition resources. 
  • MyPlate Print Materials -- The MyPlate website includes a number of print materials, available as downloadable PDFs. These materials are in the public domain, and therefore, no permission is needed to print, reproduce, or use them. 
  • Resources for all life stages -- MyPlate features resources that highlight nutrition recommendations for every stage of life.  

My Native Plate is a nutrition education tool created by Indian Health Services (IHS) that uses a visual representation of a plate as a guide to a balanced meal with traditional foods. This resource also includes sample meals and tips to add variety to snacks and meals.  

My Native Plate

FDPIR Nutrition Education Paraprofessional Project

On June 23-24, 2022, the first FDPIR Nutrition Paraprofessional Training was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The training, which is known as the Community Nutrition Champion Training (CNCT), was conducted by the Oklahoma Tribal Engagement Partners (OKTEP) through a cooperative agreement with USDA FNS. The goal of the training is to empower FDPIR partners to deliver nutrition education to FDPIR participants. 

In 2018, a study was conducted to assess FDPIR staff interest in USDA-funded nutrition education training that would equip FDPIR staff with the knowledge and skills needed to serve as nutrition paraprofessionals for their organizations. The findings indicated a nutrition paraprofessional training project was desired and helped FNS understand the specific training topics of interest and the best way to deliver the training. The Community Nutrition Champion Training covered ten topics including MyPlate, food safety, cooking basics, reading food labels, and a hands-on experience conducting a cooking demonstration. An important component of the training was incorporating cultural connections by sharing traditional language, stories, and practices when possible.  Eleven tribal partners representing each region attended the 2-day pilot training. Attendees provided positive feedback, describing the training as “very informative” and “fun,” and also saying “I hope this one is just the start of many more.” 

OKTEP will conduct additional nutrition paraprofessional trainings in each region over the next three years. Scheduling these trainings will happen soon. Check out the first cohort of FDPIR program staff at the Community Nutrition Champion Training in the picture below! 

Paraprofessional Training

Back Row: Rose James – Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Kelli Begay – OKTEP, Debbie Gardipee – South Puget Intertribal Planning Agency, Stephany Parker – OKTEP, Lacey Shipshee – Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, Mary Dixon – Gila River Indian Community, Tiffany Grant – OKTEP 

Middle Row: Sarah Kinney – FNS MWRO, Julie Skolmowski – FNS HQ, Tracy Fox – FNS HQ, Melanie Conners – Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, Teresa Jackson – OKTEP, Audrey Estes – Lower Brule Sioux Tribe, Kyra Cuthair – Ute Indian Tribe 

Front Row: David Halquist, Jr. – Pokagon Band of Potawatomi, Kyle Autaubo – Kiowa Tribe, Tanner Keller – Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians 

Not pictured: Rolanda Laducer – Spirit Lake Tribe 

FDPIR Infographics

FDPIR Sharing Gallery: Nutrition Education Resources

The FDPIR Sharing Gallery is a repository of resources and materials to assist tribal partners who administer FDPIR in providing food and nutrition information to their program participants. Resources have been organized by format type. For ideas on using the resources provided in the sharing gallery check-out the tip sheets. 

Interested in contributing content to the FDPIR Sharing Gallery? Send your recipes, photos, nutrition education materials, and other resources to USDAFoods@usda.gov. Please review our Recipe Criteria for submitting recipes. 

Learn more at https://www.fns.usda.gov/fdpir

or contact us at USDAFoods@usda.gov.

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