Report indicates pandemic, racism exacerbated food insecurity in Native communities

FILE(Kaylie Crowe)
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 11:38 AM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - A recent report has found 48% of Native communities were unable to keep their families fed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and organizations have blamed it on racism coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Advocates of the Native American Agriculture Fund, Food Research & Action Center, and Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative say they have invited the public to a virtual discussion about food insecurity during COVID-19.

The report found 48% of Native Americans and Alaska Natives said during the pandemic the food bought for their household did not last long enough and they did not have money to get more.

FRAC said the report shines a light on challenges of food security in Indian Country and the Tribally-driven solutions needed to address those head-on.

The organizations said data is essential to track progress and get resources to help alleviate the issue, as well as fuel an adequate response to hunger in Native communities.

FRAC said disparities in food insecurity are due to structural racism within colonization which has continued to the present. It said the pandemic exacerbated the issue and worsened disparities. The situation would be even worse if not for federal nutrition programs.

According to FRAC, enabling Tribal governments to administer federal nutrition programs could help reduce food insecurity, improve dietary intake and health, support economic security and help lift Native families out of poverty.

In addition to the vital role Tribal governments play in feeding their communities, FRAC said the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program help households who meet income requirements put food on the table. During the pandemic, both FDPIR and SNAP benefits boosted participants’ ability to buy food for their families.

At 2 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 20, Toni Stanger-McLaughlin, CEO of NAAF, Sandy Martini, Associate CEO of NAAF, Luis Guardia, President of FRAC, Geri Henchy, Director of FRAC, Erin Parker, Director of IFAI, will team up for the virtual event.

The event can be live-streamed HERE.

To read the full report, click HERE.

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