USDA policy eases return of traditional foods to tribal facilities

Musk ox stew is being served at a long-term senior care facility in Kotzebue, Alaska, operated by the Maniilaq Association. Photo by Sedelta Oosahwee / USDA / Flickr

Traditional foods are returning to tables across Indian Country thanks to new policies issued by the Department of Agriculture.

Section 4033 of H.R.2642, the 2014 Farm Bill, allows tribes to serve foods like wild game, marine mammals and plants at public and non-profit facilities that receive federal funds. The USDA issued new guidance in July to address the change in law.

“It opens doors for our tribes and their citizens to continue having access to traditional foods,” Leslie Wheelock, the director of the USDA's Office of Tribal Relations, told the Associated Press. “It eases the way, I think, tremendously.”

Additionally, the USDA issued guidance for child nutrition programs. Tribes are being encouraged to use local and traditional foods like wild rice, cornmeal and bison in school meals and in child and adult care centers.

Get the Story:
New processing plant prepares traditional Alaska Native food (AP 11/24)

Also Today:
Emily Doxtator: USDA Foods Help Nourish a Culture (USDA Blog 11/4)

Relevant Documents:
USDA Memo: Service of Traditional Foods in Public Facilities (July 31, 2015)
USDA Memo:Child Nutrition Programs and Traditional Foods (July 16, 2015)

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