"Within a 90-mile radius in northwest Minnesota, there are nearly 550 Native Americans who rely on one distribution center for the Leech Lake tribe for their groceries.
This lengthy commute is not only inconvenient under good weather conditions but can be nearly impossible during the grueling Minnesota winters for the poor and elderly who don’t have a car.
“The furthest reservation is 90 miles from the warehouse so it’s pretty hard for people to get to us,” said Susie Roy, director of food distribution for the Leech Lake tribe of Ojibwe. “I’ve been wanting to do a regular truck drop-off and go into communities that don’t have access to our store.”
The Leech Lake store and others like it across the country are funded and supplied by the federal Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). These stores provide “commodity foods to low-income households” living on reservations.
Native Americans make up about 1.2 percent of Minnesota’s population, according to the 2008 U.S. Census report, and their communities can go widely unnoticed, both outside the reservation and in Washington.
That’s why tribal leaders are now pushing lawmakers to increase funding and continue to improve federal programs as part of future legislation and budgets for the next fiscal year."
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Minnesota tribal leaders seek more funding for healthy food for the poor