Chairman McGovern & Chairman Grijalva Announce Roundtable Discussion Examining Indigenous Nutrition and Food Systems
Chairmen have called on President Biden to hold a national White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger, and health
WASHINGTON, DC — Rules Committee Chairman James P. McGovern (D-MA) and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ) today announced that the committees will hold a joint roundtable on Friday, February 18th at 12PM EST. Ending Hunger in America: Indigenous Nutrition and Food Systems will examine the challenges and opportunities facing Native American communities. McGovern, Grijalva, and their fellow House committee chairmen have called on President Biden to convene a national White House conference on food, nutrition, hunger, and health. The conference would take a whole-of-government approach to ending hunger and combatting nutrition insecurity in America, featuring diverse voices and those with lived experience. The roundtable will be streamed online here.
“Indigenous people have rich histories of feeding their people and caring for the land. Yet, roughly a quarter of all Native Americans reported experiencing food insecurity before the COVID pandemic hit and many more lacked access to healthy, affordable food. The federal government should do more to work with tribal governments and Indigenous leaders to solve this problem. I want to thank Chairman Grijalva for teaming up with me to hold this important discussion, and for his leadership pushing the Biden administration to hold a White House hunger conference to end hunger all across this country,” said McGovern.
"American Indians, Alaska Natives and Native Hawaiians struggle with disproportionately high rates of food scarcity and insufficiency through no fault of their own. Generations of destructive federal Indian policies, the impacts of climate change, and the rural locations of many Indigenous communities have made these problems more acute in recent years. Although Indigenous Peoples have been working to combat food scarcity at the community level, the pandemic has worsened these disparities and demonstrated an urgent need for federal support. I thank Chair McGovern for his compassion and wisdom in recognizing this issue, and I look forward to working with him and the Rules Committee to find solutions to end hunger throughout Indian Country,” said Grijalva.
Before the COVID pandemic, roughly 25 percent of Native Americans were estimated to experience food insecurity, in stark contrast to the roughly one in eight Americans estimated to experience food insecurity overall. These families often lack access to healthy, affordable food and are 400 percent more likely to report being food insecure. In just over 10 years, Type 2 diabetes rates have increased 50 percent for Native American children. Recent data has shown that the healthcare costs attributable to diet-related diseases exceed $600 billion annually, with such diseases leading to worse outcomes from COVID-19.
Although new census data shows that recent actions have brought hunger in America to its lowest level since the pandemic began, returning to the pre-COVID status quo would leave tens of millions of people hungry in every congressional district in the nation. More than 35 million people, including 10 million children, were going hungry in America even before the COVID pandemic hit.
This White House conference would bring together the heads of food banks, hospitals, government agencies, nonprofits, educators, farmers and ranchers, individuals with lived experiences, and more, with the goal of crafting a real plan with benchmarks for ending hunger, reducing nutrition insecurity, and reducing diet-related disease.
What: Ending Hunger in America: Indigenous Nutrition and Food Systems
Who: Carly Griffith Hotvedt, JD, MPA, Associate Director, Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, University of Arkansas School of Law
Lexie Holden, Associate Director of Policy & Government Relations for the Intertribal Agriculture Council
Kāʻeo Duarte, Vice President of Community & 'Aina Resiliency at Kamehameha Schools
Joe Davis, Chairman, Hoopa Valley Tribe
When: Friday, February 18th at 12PM EST
Where: This proceeding will be streamed live on rules.house.gov via Cisco Webex