PBS Documentary on Native American Diets Now Airing

Today, nearly one in four Native American families experience low food security, and on many reservations, residents lack local access to supermarkets or fresh fruits, vegetables and whole foods, due to their isolated locations. Lack of access to these foods fuels for Native Americans the highest rate of diabetes in the U.S. Because of this, a return to healthy, traditional diets and a renewed understanding of ancestral foods and practices in Native American communities is being embraced.

Partnership With Native Americans (PWNA), has partnered with Front Page Productions, a full-service, high-definition production company, to share the story of a return to healthy, traditional diets in Indian Country through a new PBS segment that looks at the movement to promote health and fight food insecurity within Native communities.

“Healthy food choices are in abundance for most Americans, but that’s not always the case for our Native American citizens,” said Rafael Tapia, Jr., PWNA Vice President of Programs. PWNA, along with Native American Chef Lois Ellen Frank, PhD and Daniel Vega, Director of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Department of Language and Culture, are featured in the film.

PWNA makes continuous efforts to address food insecurity through provision of food as well as community-based solutions, including nutrition training and on-the-ground support for gardening that assists Native communities in creating new sources of fresh, healthful foods.

An example of this is the Pascua Yaqui tribe (PYT) in Tucson, Arizona, where the Huyapo Bwaa’ame ancestral garden project was created two years ago. This garden project has since engaged the PYT community, reinforcing the importance of incorporating tribal knowledge and culture into new answers to food shortages. Projects like community gardens connect current needs with tribal traditions to better support engagement and sustainability for years to come.

Hosted by actor James Earl Jones, the Public Television segment, “Native American Food Movement,” is airing on PBS stations nationwide. Check your local listings or visit www.nativepartnership.org/PBS, and call (877) 618-0610 to learn how you can get involved and support Native nutrition.

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