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CHEHALIS The Confederated Tribes of the Chehalis Reservation “People of the Sands” TRIBAL NEWSLETTER April 2013 Free Traditional Food Activist Helps Transform Communities By Rhonda Winter The Chehalis Tribe Community Muckleshoot Tribal member Transformation Coalition and author, Valerie Segrest, sponsored and helped organize was the keynote speaker at an the free event, which attracted educational event hosted by the several dozen people from the Chehalis Tribe and Oakville Oakville and Chehalis tribal High School this week. communities. A freshly cook Segrest has been working to healthy dinner was provided promote food sovereignty, for all, as was access to blood the use of traditional foods, sugar level tests, income tax plant medicines and better and fnancial advice, and the nutrition, to help create a more opportunity to register to donate sustainable and culturally blood at the next local drive on appropriate local food system. April 11th. She explained that what we In addition to Ms. Segrest, the eat is not just a commodity, Volunteers assisted in packaging the nettle tea for people to take assembled crowd also heard but that we must value where home and savor at their leisure. from several of the tribal elders our food comes from, and that camas help the fowers to fourish, interested in building relationships plants can become our greatest while also better aerating the soil, with food. What we eat and choose and neighbors. Anita Hawkins shared her perspective on the many teachers. and also described the way her to eat are linked with our values benefts of living in a community ancestors constructed a natural pit and our culture.” Revitalizing Native Northwest oven for cooking. that is small enough to know each Food Culture Valerie’s genuine enthusiasm other, as well as tales of growing Segrest highlighted the many heirloom beans, and the joy that Ms. Segrest gave an engrossing nutritional properties contained was apparent as she spoke. She comes from gardening together: presentation about the cultural and in traditional foods; consuming stressed the importance of teaching health issues linked to harvesting them may actually help prevent interconnectedness in our oral “Community gardening is twice as and preparing different native wild diabetes, obesity and other diet traditions, and that it was possible good as gardening alone. Thinning foods, including the signifcance of related diseases. The Muckleshoot to live a life of generosity, love carrots is much more fun when you camas, hazelnuts, nettle and salmon nutritionist told us that through her and abundance, like the salmon. have company.” berries. She explained that the experiences working with elders At the gathering I learned a great This article can also be found on traditional methods of harvesting suffering from chronic health deal of useful and surprising information, met many of my issues, she discovered that as neighbors, and came these traditional foods have away with an increased been lost, not only does the respect for native culture suffer, but so does the Northwest culture, health of the people: as well as a renewed “150 years ago there were no appreciation for the reported cases of diabetes in seasonal abundance that our tribal communities…I am surrounds us all. Several volunteers Valerie Segrest adding helped to prepare ingredients to her nettle medicinal nettle and tea. She presentation mint tea for everyone about the cultural and to drink, and we were healthy benefits of all also given packets of different native wild the delicious dried tea The diabetes program provided blood foods. mixture to take home. sugar screenings at the event.
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