This November, the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) joins together to celebrate Native American Heritage Month. During this month, we acknowledge the people, culture and contributions of the Native American community.
NIFA’s Federally-Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP) funds Extension programs on American Indian Reservations and Tribal jurisdictions that address the unique needs and problems of American Indian Tribal Nations. FRTEP is the link to building the Native American community's capacity through 4-H and tribal youth development, agriculture and natural resource management, and entrepreneurship and business development. This competitive grant program provides education and research-based knowledge to those who might not otherwise receive it.
To entice members to consider participating in new endeavors, the Seminole Tribe 4-H of Florida collaborated with neighboring 4-H programs to display their counties’ achievements, talents and innovations. The Seminole Tribe 4-H hosted the “Multi-County 4-H Showcase” in September at the Big Cypress Seminole Reservation. Attendees participated in a variety of activities, workshops and experiences, which offered them a chance to expand their knowledge, develop critical life skills and form lifelong friendships.
Booths consisted of robotics, archery, water conservation, horse showing, by-products, Dutch oven cooking, beading, tailgating and livestock judging. In addition to the county exhibits, contests were held throughout the day such as the water relay, watermelon seed spitting, color run and whip cracking. A Seminole Tribe 4-H member demonstrated alligator wrestling before the closing ceremony and color run. 4-H members and their families toured the booths, hands on activities and demonstrations while enjoying and participating in the exciting competitions and exercises. More than 100 registered youth participants and their families took part in the Showcase.
The Washington State University (WSU) Colville Reservation FRTEP provides an active 4-H Position Youth Development Club program on the Colville Reservation. There are currently four 4-H clubs with 35 youth members and 14 adult volunteer leaders. One club focuses on poultry as a main project area.
In Washington state, all poultry must be tested for Pullorum Typhoid before they may be exhibited at a show or fair. The 4-H club members raised their own chicken from eggs and needed to have them tested. The 4-H leader reached out to a local veterinarian and learned the cost to test the birds was $138 per bird. This cost was a challenge for the seven reservation 4-H members who wanted to exhibit poultry at the county fair. The club leader reached out to WSU Colville Reservation Extension and discovered that through WSU, people can collect blood samples from their birds and send the samples to the WSU laboratory and get results for $3.00 per bird.
WSU Colville Reservation FRTEP obtained the instructions for testing for Pullorum Typhoid and purchased the testing supplies for the reservation 4-H members. They each collected the needed blood samples and submitted them to the WSU laboratory. All tests came back negative, allowing the 4-H members to exhibit and show their chickens at the local county fair.