SEARHC hosts Aleut, Lower 48 Natives for foods meeting


Greg Knight

Boon Buethe dances on the floor of the Chief Shakes Tribal House as Rose Johnson, Georgia Downey and Sandra Byrd dance behind him.

The SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium partnered with the Center for Disease Control this week to hold a meeting on traditional foods – and showcased a variety of options available to Natives and others for healthy eating.

The meeting was held at the James and Elsie Nolan Center starting on Monday, June 17 and is a required component of the CDC’s Traditional Foods Program and for all tribal entities receiving grant money under a federal program aimed at diabetes prevention in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

Tribal members from the Southeast and the Aleutian Islands, as well as American Indians from Washington, Oregon, California, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota, Michigan, Oklahoma, Kansas, South Carolina and New Mexico were on hand during the five-day event.

Ken Hoyt, the SEARHC Traditional Foods representative in Wrangell said the meeting represents a great cross-section of Natives involved in promoting healthier diets for all.

“There are 15 tribal communities across the country that are part of this grant from the CDC,” Hoyt said. “All of those communities are utilizing traditional foods in ways to increase nutrition and confront diabetes and chronic disease. We’re doing that by returning to a healthy lifestyle.”

Hoyt also said that tribes from around the nation use traditional food techniques that are not so dissimilar from what is practiced in Southeast Alaska.

Greg Knight

Ken Hoyt dances on Monday night for a group of Lower 48 and Aleut Natives who are in Wrangell for the SEARHC Traditional Foods grant meeting.

“It’s interesting to see the differences, but I think it is even more interesting to see what we have in common, especially with our neighbors in Washington. Though, folks across the country are involved in a lot of the same projects as we are here,” Hoyt said.

On Monday evening, a community dinner was held at the SNO Building and featured fresh Dungeness crab, King Salmon, shrimp and other traditional foods. A gift giving ceremony was also held for the visiting representatives of Tribal organizations.

After the dinner, the Shtax’heen Kwaan dancers held a performance at the Chief Shakes Tribal House for a number of guests from the conference.

The meeting continues through tomorrow and will feature discussions by the Cherokee Nation, the Prairie Band Potawatomi, and members of the Ramah Navajo School Board from New Mexico.


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