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Oklahoma State University

Center Partners win President's Cup 2nd Place

OSU recognizes Center for Sovereign Nations Partners

Sovereign Tribal Nations’ Seeds, Food Systems, and Nutrition project was awarded second place in the OSU President’s Cup competition which was announced at the University Awards Convocation in December.

The winning interdisciplinary team of OSU Center for Sovereign Nations’ Partners included:

OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture (Joshua Ringer, Visiting Assistant Professor- Sovereign Nations Food Systems; Lynn Brandenberger, Professor; Justin Moss, Associate Professor, Huffine Endowed Professor), and Department of Agricultural Economics (Dave Shideler, Associate Professor and Community Development Specialist)

OSU Academic Affairs, Center for Sovereign Nations (Elizabeth Payne, Director, Center for Sovereign Nations, and Sky Rogers, Coordinator, Center for Sovereign Nations)

OSU Arts and Sciences, OSU Center for American Indian Studies (John Chaney, Director, Regents Professor Psychology)

OSU College of Human Sciences, Department of Nutritional Sciences (Stephany Parker, Associate Professor)

About the Project

Following the creation of the OSU Center for Sovereign Nations, Drs. Ringer, Moss, and Brandenberger met with Dr. Payne to discuss strategies for connecting them with sovereign nation partners.  They wanted to understand more about tribal nations’ needs regarding preservation of traditional heirloom seeds and incorporation of these varieties into Native American food systems. 

Strategic meetings ensued, and on October 17, 2015, the project team joined the Choctaw Nation at the Choctaw Community Center-Atoka to host a one day Native American Seed Processing & Cultural Food & Nutrition Event.  

Participants included representatives from several sovereign tribal nations as well as representatives from the Noble Foundation and others.

Participants learned about strategies for wet and dry seed processing, and participated in hands on wet seed processing.  The Choctaw Nation addressed cultural significance of heirloom varieties, and the Mvskoke Sovereignty Food Initiative provided a cooking demonstration using traditional recipes.  The day ended with roundtable discussions at which next steps for collaboration were identified.

Fruit of the Project

Several grants and partnership opportunities grew out of this important project.  They include a grant from the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture and Forestry to study water use efficiency utilizing traditional Native American legumes. Also, OSU Department of Agricultural Economics joined the Choctaw Nation in a USDA Community Food Promotion Grant Proposal submission.  Other results from this interdisciplinary collaboration include a Mvskoke Sovereign Food Initiative gathering, a proposal for a cultural and community food systems initiative, and a submission for a Native American USDA NSF Agricultural and Food Research Initiative.  Sovereignty>Students>Partnerships