Addison Nonprofit Behind PBS Film Highlighting Dietary, Health Issues of Native Americans

The documentary, hosted by actor James Earl Jones, explores the Native American Food Movement and its efforts in addressing food insecurity.

native american

Addison-based Partnership With Native Americans has collaborated with Front Page Productions to create a documentary about dietary and health issues faced by Native American communities.

The documentary, which is airing on Public Broadcasting System stations across the nation, is hosted by renowned actor James Earl Jones. It takes a look at how “Indian Country” is returning to healthy, ancestral diets to combat food insecurity and health issues.

According to PWNA, 23 percent of Native American families experience low food security because remote reservations have few supermarkets or access to fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole foods.

“Healthy food choices are in abundance for most Americans, but that’s not always the case for our Native American citizens.”
Rafael Tapia Jr.

Lack of access to such foods contributes to Native Americans having the highest diabetes rate in the country, the release said.

In the documentary, native chef Lois Ellen Frank; Daniel Vega, director of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe Department of Language and Culture; and Rafael Tapia Jr., PWNA vice president of programs, talk about the Native American Food Movement and its efforts in addressing food insecurity.

“Healthy food choices are in abundance for most Americans, but that’s not always the case for our Native American citizens,” Tapia said in the release. “This documentary captures the reality of food deserts and how traditional knowledge and local ingredients can reduce the shortage of healthy foods and dietary deficiencies, for sustained health and wellness.”

Addison-based PWNA said it tackles the issue of food insecurity through healthy food access, nutrition training, garden support, and garden training.

GARDEN PROJECT PROMOTES HEALTHY LIVING

For example, the Huyapo Bwaa’ame ancestral garden project was created two years ago in the partnership with the Pascua Yaqui tribe in Tucson, Arizona, to engage that community and reinforce the importance of incorporating tribal knowledge and cul­ture into solutions for healthier living.

“The goal is to provide a better understanding of ancestral foods and their holistic spiritual, mental, physical, and emotional impact, as well as the connection of the land to the people and the people to the land,” Vega said in the release. “From the harvest to youth engagement, the ancestral garden continues to impact our community.” 

Founded in 1990, PWNA is a nonprofit committed to championing a brighter future for Native Americans living on remote, geographically isolated, and often impoverished reservations.

For more information about PWNA, visit nativepartnership.org or call 877-416-8102. 

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