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Traditional Foods

Traditional Foods Project, 2008-2014

Traditional Foods Partners US map with grantee names
View Tribal Programs Map

Using Traditional Foods and Sustainable Ecological Approaches for Health Promotion and Type 2 Diabetes Prevention in American Indian and Alaska Native communities was a 6-year cooperative agreement that championed 17 tribal programs. The tribal programs worked to restore access to local, traditional foods and physical activity to promote health. The goals were to:

  • Support traditional, sustainable, evaluable ecological approaches to type 2 diabetes prevention, focusing on local efforts to reclaim traditional foods and physical activity.
  • Encourage local health practices and policies to increase availability of and access to local, traditional foods and physical activity.
  • Revive, create, and preserve stories of healthy traditional ways shared in homes, schools, and communities
  • Engage community members to improve and sustain activities in health promotion, sharing stories of hope for preventing diabetes and its complications.

While the Traditional Foods cooperative agreement (2008-2014)  has ended, these pages have been maintained to share stories and teachings gleaned and generously shared by these programs. The CDC is dedicated to devoting resources to reduce health disparities and improve health in Indian Country. The announcement, “A Comprehensive Approach to Good Health and Wellness in Indian Country,”  aims to prevent heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and associated risk factors in American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages. The methods include: community-chosen and culturally-adapted policies, systems, and environmental changes that help to promote health and wellness and prevent and reduce heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and associated risk factors in American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages.

Traditional Foods Stories

image of garden

American Indian and Alaska Native communities across the country are reclaiming traditional foods as part of the global Indigenous food sovereignty movement that embraces identity, history, and traditional ways and practices to address health.

The stories below were compiled by Chelsea Wesner (Choctaw) to help NDWP understand the importance and meaning of traditional foods across Indian Country. The traditional foods stories represent Native communities across Indian Country.

Part I—Traditional Foods in Native America Cdc-pdf[PDF – 7 MB]

Part II—Good Food is Power Cdc-pdf[PDF – 3 MB]

Part III—Compendium of Traditional Foods Stories Cdc-pdf[PDF – 4 MB]

Part IV—Traditional Foods in Native America Cdc-pdf[PDF – 7 MB]

Part V—Traditional Foods in Native America Cdc-pdf[PDF – 8 MB]

Our Cultures Are Our Source of Health

Photo of people playing a game outdoors

This video highlights the wisdom of cultural knowledge, including harvesting local foods and playing traditional games, in promoting health and preventing diseases like type 2 diabetes in American Indian and Alaska Native communities.

More About the Traditional Foods Movement

Traditional foods in the news

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Page last reviewed: August 22, 2018