Voices for Healthy Kids would like to celebrate and thank the initiative’s past and current American Indian and Alaska Native partners during November, also recognized as Native American Heritage Month. The initiative has had the opportunity to learn from individuals and organizations who are of Native American communities since 2016. Partnership engagement began with a relationship between Crystal Echohawk, then of Echohawk Consulting, and an introduction to the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux in Minnesota who co-funded the Fertile Ground grant program with the American Heart Association. The Fertile Ground program was a result of voices of tribal leadership sharing what American Indian Alaska Native communities needed to improve and support their tribal communities. These grants funded critical needs to sustain cultural ways of life including the development of tribal food codes, changed policies to provide access to cultural food sources and sustained food sources, and enhanced services for Native American families. This program was administered in partnership with the First Nations Development Institute to work with tribal grantees for successful projects.
NaDa Shoemaker, Equity Strategies and Partnerships Manager, has led this portfolio of work for Voices for Healthy Kids since 2019. Her mission has been to ensure opportunities for education for Voices for Healthy Kids and the initiative’s internal and external partners to better support Indian Country partnerships. This work has developed into new partnership opportunities and connections benefiting everyone through educational, grant and development opportunities. NaDa recognizes the unique relationships of the Indian Country partners and the importance of listening to how Voices can support their needs.
We want to also recognize the following individuals and organizations for their commitment to working with and co-creating opportunities of engagement and support with Voices for Healthy Kids in various roles as we continue to prioritize Indian Country communities across the nation.
American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICAF), Melissa Buffalo
Bear Moon Consulting, Missty Slater
Cheri Nemec, Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Council and National Indian and Native American WIC Coalition
Dr. Mary Williard, Alaska health priorities and programs
Tasha Fridia, Friends of the Children
Gloria Begay, Navajo Nation
Jennifer Rackliff, National Indian Child Care Association
Notah Begay III Foundation, Jon Driskell, Cyann Lujan and Renee Goldtooth
National Council on Urban Indian Health, Francys Crevier, Tyler Dougherty, Edisa Berberkic
Nigel Lawrence, The Suquamish Foundation
Pearl Walker Swaney, Doula and Breastfeeding Consultant
Public Health Law Center, Julie Ralston Aoki, attorney supporting tribal law and research
Ronny Bell, UNC
Albuquerque Area Indian Health Board, Inc., Alan Sixtus Dominguez
Ahniwake Rose, Oklahoma
Urban Indian Health Institute
Ms. Paula Hale, Arizona
The above list is not exclusive of all the Indian Country individuals and organizations Voices for Healthy Kids has worked with or learned from since 2016. These organizational partners represent those who have worked with the initiative by serving on our Strategic Advisory Committee, Grant Review Subcommittee, Policy Research Advisory Group, IEE leads and participants, and Health Leaders for Healthy Kids network, as well as providing opportunities through webinars, blogs, roundtables, convenings and conference conversations.
We appreciate and deeply thank you all for your time and commitment to advocating for healthier American Indian and Alaska Native children and communities!