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Little Shell Tribe announces "Food Sovereignty Program"

Little Shell Tribe announces "Food Sovereignty Program"
Flag of the Little Shell Tribe
The Tribe purchased farmland surrounding and on Hill 57 to grow crops and raise cattle
Posted at 2:09 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 20:58:37-04

GREAT FALLS — The Little Shell Tribal Council on Friday announced the creation of the Little Shell Food Sovereignty Program. The Tribe chose to center the program around one of its historic communities – Hill 57. The Tribe bought farmland surrounding and on Hill 57 to grow crops and raise cattle.

Little Shell Tribe announces "Food Sovereignty Program"

The Tribe expects to take delivery of its first head of cattle within the next month and hopes to begin processing by the fall.

“The Tribal Council’s main goal was to ensure that our tribal members and neighbors had access to food during the ongoing pandemic; no child should ever go to bed hungry,” stated Little Shell First Vice Chairman Clarence Sivertsen. “The Tribal Council created this program to address the immediate needs of today but with the eye towards sustainability for future generations.”

“For too long the Little Shell Tribe was scattered across Montana living homeless in shanty towns, including Hill 57, forced to face food shortages on the fringes of society,” explained Little Shell Chairman Gerald Gray. “The Tribal Council wanted to center the program around Hill 57 because it was a symbolic gesture to reclaim our past to ensure that no one could ever call us the ‘landless Indians’ again.”

The Little Shell Tribe, headquartered in Great Falls, includes more than 5,000 enrolled members around the state. The tribe has a long history, dating back to followers of Chief Little Shell, who were left without recognition or a land base after disputes over a federal treaty in 1892. The tribe was granted federal recognition in December 2019.


Here is the full text of a news release from the Tribe:

The Little Shell Tribal Council is pleased to announce the creation of the Little Shell Food Sovereignty Program, which will be centered around one of the Tribe’s historic communities at Hill 57. The Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians has partnered, and continues to partner, with several local non-profit organizations to provide food boxes and assistance to both tribal members and non-tribal members that have experienced hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic.

These efforts have fed many families, however, we discovered that food insecurity is greatly impacting both the Little Shell tribal community and our neighbors. This lack of access to enough nutritious foods effects households by increasing rates of chronic diseases and causing budgetary stress that in turn leads to the lack of funds for medical care, utilities, and housing payments. When confronted with these facts the Little Shell Tribal Council sought to create a tribally-controlled program that would sustainably address food insecurity issues in the community.

The Tribal Council authorized the creation of the Little Shell Food Sovereignty Program to address this vitally important need. The purpose of the Food Sovereignty Program is to allow the Tribe to exert self-determination fundamentals to ensure Little Shell tribal members have access to nutritious and culturally important food sources during the pandemic and beyond. The Tribe chose to center the program around one of its historic communities – Hill 57. The Tribe purchased farmland surrounding and on Hill 57 to grow crops and raise cattle.

“The Tribal Council’s main goal was to ensure that our tribal members and neighbors had access to food during the ongoing pandemic; no child should ever go to bed hungry,” stated Little Shell First Vice Chairman Clarence Sivertsen. “The Tribal Council created this program to address the immediate needs of today but with the eye towards sustainability for future generations.”

“For too long the Little Shell Tribe was scattered across Montana living homeless in shanty towns, including Hill 57, forced to face food shortages on the fringes of society,” explained Little Shell Chairman Gerald Gray. “The Tribal Council wanted to center the program around Hill 57 because it was a symbolic gesture to reclaim our past to ensure that no one could ever call us the ‘landless Indians’ again.”

The Tribe expects to take delivery of its first head of cattle within the next month and hopes to begin processing by the fall.