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Humboldt County's Native American Outreach Program

The Issue

USDA has a program titled The Federally Recognized Tribes Extension Program (FRTEP). It is administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. In 2011, Humboldt County Extension received funding to serve Native Americans to a greater extent than was possible before. The challenges for Extension programming to tribes include difficulties establishing relationships when one is not part of the community, the distance to tribal communities, and a lack of understanding of tribal cultural values and how cultural differences impact relationships with service agencies and educational institutions. The top goal is to overcome the barriers to participation in our programming.

What Has ANR Done?

The Humboldt County Cooperative Extension office received funding to hire new staff. We have had a member of the Karuk Tribe and Hoopa Tribe over the three years. Also a new staff member in the Eureka office has been working on tribal lands. Some travel funds, supplies, and funds for three college tours have helped us deliver programs. In the first three years we have had many successful programs as we build relationships. A community food assessment documented challenges and opportunities within the food system, and relies heavily on community input to identify desired changes. The youth development program has used clubs and classroom enhancement to bring Extension educational materials into two high schools. Twenty-one teens enjoyed college tours and increased their knowledge about college applications. Workshops addressed topics that were chosen by the communities including raising poultry, growing hay, rain water catchment, food preservation, cottage foods, and value added products. Also, extensive time has been spent assisting tribal members and teachers to develop four school and community gardens.

The Payoff

Increased partnerships with tribal communities

By developing relationships with tribal leaders and families, Extension has been able to offer programs with good participation. Working together on community food assessment, community/school gardens and a 4-H club, we have established working partnerships that continues to evolve. Community meetings were two-way listening sessions where tribal members shared their goals for improving communities and Extension staff planned assistance. A small 4-H club in the isolated Hoopa Valley community enrolled 10 new members and held several events. One student was able to participate in an archery tournament for the first time. The Community Food Assessment has raised awareness of Extension and our capacity to facilitate needed change. The assessment results show community concerns over the lack of fresh foods and a community willingness to discover ways to improve the situation. The road has now been paved for many more successful cooperative efforts.


Supporting Unit: Humboldt County Office

Deborah Giraud, UCCE Advisor, ddgiraud@ucanr.edu, (707) 445-7351