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The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative (IFAI), with generous support by the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community (SMSC) through its Seeds of Native Health campaign, has opened 21 AmeriCorps VISTA positions available at 10 Tribal governments and Tribal communities throughout the United States.

AmeriCorps VISTA is an important and vital community and public service program operated by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

This unique partnership between VISTA, the SMSC, and IFAI allows for coordination of these placements and the creation of a cohort of Native Food Sovereignty Fellows. Fellows will work in teams placed in Native American communities to contribute to and assist in efforts focused on food sovereignty, food systems, and tribal economies that build opportunities in food and agriculture.

VISTA positions are paid positions providing benefits, educational benefits upon successful completion of the assignment, living and housing assistance, child care (if applicable) and related support. The VISTA Native Food Sovereignty Fellows will work closely with IFAI and receive ongoing training and assistance from IFAI to augment their local work.

The application period is now open. All those interested can apply directly through the AmeriCorps VISTA website, which explains the application process.

Space is limited, and we are looking to fill positions quickly – Apply now!

If you have any questions, please email Director Janie Hipp at jhipp@uark.edu, or VISTA Coordinator Josiah W. Griffin at jwg012@uark.edu.

Native Food Sovereignty Fellows are being hosted at these sites:

  • Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance (Anchorage, AK)
  • Bad River Band of Lake Superior Tribe Chippewa Indians (Odanah, WI)
  • Blackfeet Nation (Browning, MT)
  • Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe (Eagle Butte, SD)
  • Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa (Cloquet, MN)
  • Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians (Watersmeet, MI)
  • Lower Sioux Indian Community (Morton, MN)
  • Menominee Indian Tribe (Keshena, WI)
  • Mescalero Apache Tribe of the Mescalero Reservation (Mescalero, NM)
  • Prairie Island Indian Community (Welch, MN)
  • Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians (Red Lake, MN)
  • Swinomish Indian Tribal Community (LaConner, WA)
  • Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma (Quapaw, OK)

 

Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance

The Alaska Tribal Conservation Alliance is located in Anchorage. ATCA’s mission is to provide education, collaboration and outreach to the tribal conservation districts in Alaska to preserve and enhance the natural resources and traditional subsistence way of life.

 

Bad River Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Tribe

The Bad River Band Of Lake Superior Tribe of Chippewa Indians is located on a more than 125,000 acre reservation in Northern Wisconsin on the south shore of Lake Superior (Known by the tribe as Gichi Gami) in Ashland and Iron Counties. Territory ceded by the tribe to the U.S. government includes the upper one third of what is now the State of Wisconsin. Learn more about them here.

Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe

The Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe is located in Eagle Butte, SD.

Lower Sioux Indian Community

The Lower Sioux Indian Community is located in Morton, Minnesota. The region is primarily rich agricultural land in the river flood plain and the wooded bluffs behind. The community was built on the hillside and uplands. It centers around the tribal offices, a new community center, Tipi Maka Duta (the Lower Sioux Trading Post), and St. Cornelia Episcopal Church built in 1889 and now on the National Register of Historic sites.

Swinomish Indian Tribal Community

 

The Swinomish Indian Tribal Community is located in La Conner, Washington. They are a community of Coast Salish peoples descended from groups and bands originating from the Skagit and Samish River valleys, coastal areas surrounding nearby bays and waters, and numerous islands including Fidalgo, Camano, Whidbey and the San Juan Islands. Learn more about them here.

 

Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians

The Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians is headquartered in Red Lake, Minnesota. Learn more about them here.

Blackfeet Nation

The Blackfeet Nation is headquartered in Browning, MT. The Blackfeet people have occupied the Rocky Mountain region for more than 10,000 years. In the 18th and 19th centuries, the four Blackfeet bands—the North Piegan, the South Piegan, the Blood, and the Siksika—occupied much of the northern plains and were nomadic, following the seasonal grazing and migration of buffalo. Members of the Blackfeet Nation in the United States primarily descend from the South Piegan. To this day, we use the land for cultural and spiritual purposes.

Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians

The Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians is headquartered in Watersmeet, MI. The tribe originally lived on South Island in Lac Vieux Desert until they moved to the south shore of the lake around 1880. Fishing, hunting and gathering natural foods has sustained the members of the Lac Vieux Desert Band for years. After the treaty of 1854, a large portion of the Band returned to this village from the established reservation at L’anse. When the ceded Indian lands were placed on public sale, the Indian of Katikitegoning pooled part of the yield of their winter hunting, and took the furs to the Public Land Office in Marquette to purchase the land they were living on. Learn more about them here.

Menominee Nation

The seat of government for the Menominee Tribe is located approximately 45 miles northwest of Green Bay, Wisconsin, on the Menominee Indian Reservation, in the Village of Keshena. The Reservation shares nearly coterminous geopolitical boundaries with Menominee County, is situated on the ancestral homelands of its 8,551 tribal members, and includes 5 main communities: Keshena, Neopit, Middle Village, Zoar, and South Branch. The Reservation is comprised of 235,523 acres, or approximately 358 square miles, and includes 187 rivers and streams, and 53 lakes. Learn more about them here.

Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa

The Fond du Lac Band is one of six Chippewa Indian Bands in the state of Minnesota. The Fond du Lac Reservation was established by the La Pointe Treaty of 1854. Archaeologists, however, maintain that ancestors of the present day Chippewa (Ojibwe) have resided in the Great Lakes area since 800 A.D. Today, our Band includes over 4,200 members. The Ojibwe name for the Fond du Lac Reservation is “Nagaajiwanaang,” which means “where the water stops.” Learn more about them here.

Prairie Island Indian Community

The Mdewakanton, “those who were born of the waters,” have lived on Prairie Island for countless generations. Located in Southeastern Minnesota along the wooded shores of the Mississippi and Vermillion Rivers, Prairie Island is a spiritual place for our people. Prairie Island owns and operates Treasure Island Resort & Casino. We call gaming the new buffalo because it has helped restore our self-sufficiency. It is responsible for improving life on the reservation, strengthening our Tribal Government, and helping preserve our culture. Learn more about them here.

Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma

The Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma is located in the Northeastern corner of Oklahoma.The Quapaw were a division of a larger group known as the Dhegiha Sioux many years ago. The Dhegiha split into the tribes known today as the Quapaw, Osage, Ponca, Kansa and Omaha when they left the Ohio Valley. The Quapaw moved down the Mississippi River into Arkansas, this is the origin of the word Ogaxpa, which can be translated as “downstream people.” Learn more about them here.

Mescalero Apache Tribe of Mescalero Reservation

The Mescalero were essentially nomadic hunters and warriors, dwelling at one place for a temporary time in brush shelter known as a “Wicki up”; short rounded dwellings made of twigs or teepees made of elk hides and buffalo hides. The Mescalero roamed freely throughout the Southwest including Texas, Arizona, Chihuahua, México and Sonora, México.

Today, three sub-tribes, Mescalero, Lipan and Chiricahua, make up the Mescalero Apache Tribe. We live on this reservation of 463,000 acres of what once was the heartland of our people’s aboriginal homelands. Learn more about them here.

Training resources

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