Image by Johnny at Bad Winds Studios
This summer, Civil Society and Community Studies graduate student Becca Dower is helping the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) develop a tribally-supported agriculture program—or TSA—to distributes Native American produced goods to Native American communities. During this time, she will be conducting preliminary research with funding from SoHE’s Summer Time Academic Research (STAR) Award, supported by the Catherine K. Sheehan Fund. See the first post on her journey here.
This week I find myself in Denver, Colorado. I am here to help a friend get ready for summer give away on the Fort Peck Reservation in Northeastern Montana. The particular ceremony requires her to give gifts to her entire community along with a feast. My summer research collaborators at the Intertribal Agriculture Council hooked us up with 15 pounds of wild rice harvested in Northern Minnesota on the White Earth Ojibwe community and 25 pounds of Indian corn meal from the Ute tribe in Southern Colorado. I will help cook traditional dishes using these and other tribally sourced food including a bison from Northern Montana.
To prepare, friends and family have been making and preparing items to give away. A Native artist living in Denver worked with my friend to produce a graphic with culturally significant elements to her community. The image features a buffalo that contains a cottonwood tree, both having a strong relationship to the Native people of the pains region. Using his image, she contracted the work of a Native owned printing company in Denver to create tee shirts for gift bundles. Beacon Printing is Native owned and supports Native artists while doing prints for Indigenous groups such as the American Indian College Fund. Indian country values relationships, community and collaboration. By supporting Native artists, services, producers etc. we can invest in our own communities. We will be headed up to Fort Peck next week, the land of the people of the Buffalo.
Becca Dower is a Civil Society graduate student at SoHE. With support from the STAR Award, Becca will spend the summer conducting preliminary data collection in order to understand feasibility and desire for community distribution sites. She’ll then work with community members to establish accessible site locations.
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