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‘The way we used to live’

Diné Bich’iiya’ Summit offers healthy options


Navajo Times | Rima Krisst

Presenter Grace Tracy, cultural liaison for Tsehootsooi Medical Center, demonstrates healthy options for making tortillas by adding pureed vegetables to the dough.

Most would agree that returning to Diné food sovereignty is a healthy approach to restoring self-sufficiency, incorporates the Diné way of life, and the principles of Ké and Hózhó for the well-being of the people and all living things.

“If we could create a food industry on the Navajo Nation that feeds all of our people then we could even expand to provide foods around the country and maybe even to other countries around the world – that

would be true sovereignty at the highest level,” said President Jonathan Nez.

Nez wants to create a task force to develop a “Navajo Food Policy” and reduce dependence on border towns.

In the past decade, the Land Grant Office at Diné College has made great strides in encouraging Navajos to return to traditional life ways and reconnect with the land, including farming and ranching, to revitalize traditional foods and restore health to the land, the people and the food system.

“We are a land grant institution,” said Audrey Etsitty, extension program specialist. “We are one of the 1994 tribal colleges and with that we receive USDA funding to conduct extension, research, and academic education, and we extend that outward to the communities.”

From range monitoring to beef cattle reproduction seminars, environmental youth camps and school agricultural presentations, the Diné College LGO programs offer numerous outreach and education opportunities, including the popular annual food sovereignty conference, the Diné Bich’iiya’ (Navajo Food) Summit, that occurs at the end of March.

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