The Nipmuc Indian Development Corporation received a grant from First Nations Development Institute to conduct a food assessment in the Nipmuc community. This assessment will gather information on our community’s food preferences, food availability, and traditional food knowledge and use. The assessment will be used to create a plan to ensure healthy food and water for all Nipmuc people. The assessment is limited to Nipmucs living in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut – our traditional homelands.
Why are we doing a food assessment? Asthma, diabetes and heart disease are major issues in our community (according to the health assessment completed by the NWHC some years ago). Diabetes and heart disease are directly related to and can be caused by the food we eat. Asthma can also be triggered by food allergies. How many of you have diabetes, heart disease and obesity in your families?
What do we want to know? We want to know how the foods we eat affect our health; what food do we as a community choose to eat and why; how many tribal members understand the danger associated with processed foods; do tribal members know Nipmuc food history and agricultural practices; and many other things.
We are recruiting Nipmuc youth ages 10 to 24 to interview the head of households in their own families for this assessment. The youth receive a $50 gift card for every verified assessment. And each family completing an assessment receives a $25 grocery store card. A training session for youth was held at this year’s Strawberry Moon social at the Hassanamesit Reservation on June 17th from 1 to 3 pm.
This is a great way for our young to earn some pocket money, talk with their elders about tribal matters and perform a service for our community.