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American Indian Healthy Eating

Waccamaw Siouan Tribe

About Waccamaw Siouan Tribe

Waccamaw Siouan Indians are one of eight state-recognized Native American tribal nations in North Carolina.  Located predominantly in the southeastern North Carolina counties of Bladen and Columbus, in the communities of St. James, Buckhead, and Council, the Waccamaw Siouan tribal homeland is situated on the edge of Green Swamp about 37 miles from Wilmington, North Carolina, seven miles from Lake Waccamaw, and four miles north of Bolton, North Carolina.  Since its earliest recorded exploration by the naturalist, William Bartram (who was assisted in his efforts by Waccamaw Indians) in 1735, many stories have been told about the legendary origin of Lake Waccamaw.  Many have proved to be the fanciful inventions of early white settlers.  According to the Waccamaw Siouan Indians, thousands of years ago, an immense meteor appeared in the night sky toward the southwest.  Flaming to a brilliance of innumerable suns as it hurtled earthward, the meteor finally struck, burning itself deep within the earth.  The waters of the surrounding swamps and rivers flowed into the crater and cooled it, creating Lake Waccamaw, a gem blue, verdant green lake.  Therefore, Waccamaw Siouan are often referred to as the “People of the Falling Star.”  The Waccamaw Siouan are not affiliated with the Waccamaw people of South Carolina (aka Chicora Waccamaw) and the Waccamaw Siouan of Farmers Union, South Carolina.

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Waccamaw Siouan Tribe HNNC Supported Initiatives 

Our Healthy, Native North Carolinians initiatives promote healthy living and empowers our tribal members to help fight the United States’ obesity epidemic.  Building on our success from Year 1 of the project, we continue to cultivate healthy eating through community garden activities and healthy concessions initiatives.  We have expanded our efforts to promote active living through a variety of incentives and promotions to train for and compete in local physical activity competitions.  Our “STAR for Health” program encourages our youth to spread healthy messages among their peers, families, and younger and elder members of our tribe.  We host community gatherings to foster community input on ways to expand and sustain our Healthy, Native North Carolinians initiatives.  More details of our community change efforts are below.  Our long-term goals include developing a community recreation building with exercise equipment and to develop a walking trail that is lined with fruit trees, blueberry bushes, grape vines, and trellis strawberries.

Healthy Eating Initiatives

Tribal Garden

The Waccamaw Siouan Community Garden has significantly expanded from last year’s garden.  The new site includes 20 rows and a variety of vegetables.  Tribal members Mr. Truman Jacobs and Mr. Elwood Patrick assisted with planning and labor.  We also formed a strong partnership with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and received volunteer assistance.  Gardening experts in our tribal community, Ms. Delphie Patrick, Mr. Wilson Jacobs, and Mr. William Moore, helped with the garden by sharing their knowledge.  We recruited volunteers to maintain the garden by weeding, transplanting, harvesting, and assisting with other garden needs.  We are continuing to have regular community meetings and encourage more tribal members to get involved in the garden.

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Farmers’ Market

We have purchased a shelter for our Waccamaw Siouan Tribal Farmer’s Market to help sustain and build our Farmer’s Market by providing a more inviting space for our farmers and volunteers.  Our communities also has more access to fresh, healthy, affordable produce.  The produce will come from community members’ gardens and our tribal community garden.

Greenhouse

Our tribe has partnered with Stevie Jacobs and Cirrus Jacobs, a local Boy Scout and his father, as well as other Boy Scout members to construct a greenhouse on tribal grounds.  The purpose of the greenhouse is to provide plants to community members and the tribal garden.  Herbs will also be grown for community members to use to flavor their cooking instead of salt.  In order to introduce healthy eating to our younger members, 20 day care students aged 2 through 5 will be involved in the planting of starter seed for herbs and transplants.  Seedling starter kits will be used by the students.   The seedlings will be grown under grow lights during the winter months.  Students will be provided with activities related to the plantings involving color, numbers, and measurements.  The children, along with teachers and parents, will be included in the harvesting of vegetables and herbs from the greenhouse.  This will be an ongoing annual project to connect our youth to the land, build self-esteem, and familiarize them with different kinds of vegetables and herbs.  By growing it themselves, we hope they are more willing to taste and try different healthy foods.

Pow Wow

In Year 1, we sold collards from our tribal garden at our Pow Wow.  We will continue to do this each October for future Pow Wows.  The tribal garden provides supplemental collards for selling at the Pow Wow and helps the tribe to reduce costs.  Olive oil will be used for cooking the collards, with the exception of fry bread.  We will again sell smaller-sized portions of fry bread to encourage our tribal members to eat healthier if they choose to eat fry bread.  This is an important change, because the tradition of fry bread is strong in our community.  Smaller portions are a great way to start changing how we think about food.  The community didn’t seem to mind the smaller portions.  We also have a booth each year for healthy and active living during the Pow Wow and provide health tips and recipes in our Pow Wow program book.  Elders, youth ambassadors, and volunteers, gather, cook, and serve food at the Pow Wow.   Twenty-five percent of the profits from collard sandwich sales will be reinvested into the STAR for Health program to help meet financial needs in future years.

Concessions: Healthy Smoothies

Building off of Year 1, efforts with the popular frozen fruit pops, the Tribe prepared healthy fruit smoothies (Smoothie Delights) to sell at sports events.  They were a great tasting, healthy alternative to the unhealthy snacks offered at concessions.  Community members participated in making and purchasing the Smoothie Delights, which helps to support sustainability for next year.  These healthy treats will be made and served throughout the summer from the concession stand during Sunday evening prayer walks around the tribal grounds.

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Active Living Initiatives

Walk/Bike-A-Thon

Our tribe sponsored our own walk/bike-a-thon to provide an opportunity for our tribal members to engage in physical activity.  It was held on May 26, 2013.  About 30-40 tribal members participated, including youth and elders.  Tribal members were motivated to begin a Prayer Walk around the grounds each Sunday afternoon.  Smoothie Delights along with water were sold during the event.  This is an activity to encourage our tribal members to stay active year round and can be considered part of their training for the Sappony 5K Trail Run/Walk and 1 Mile Fun Run each June and also for “Take the Lake” in the fall.

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“Take the Lake”

Our Tribe continues to partner with Columbus County Parks & Recreation to recruit participants and carry out this event each fall.  The community-wide event encourages residents to walk, bike, paddle, or swim around Lake Waccamaw.  Approximately 30 of our tribal members, including pastors, participate in training prior to the event.  Training includes a variety of physical activities such as biking, walking, and running to prepare for the event.  Those not involved in the formal event continue the effort of weekly biking, walking, and swimming activities.  For more information, please visit the event website.

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Youth Dance Group

In partnership with the Columbus County Indian Education program, our Tribe formed a youth dance group.  Students in the program gather regularly for practicing and preserving our cultural dances and also for implementing Instant Recess for a variety of physical activities.  The group demonstrated our different Native American dance styles at Hallsboro/Artesia and during the Farmer’s Day at Lake Waccamaw.  In addition to their regular gatherings, the youth dance group will continue to demonstrate their Native moves each year at these two events.

Unity Conference 2014 Let’s Get Moving

Waccamaw Siouan Tribal members, Leslie Jones, Shirley Freeman, Megan Patrick and Linda Patrick took part in the “Lets Get Moving” activities during the General Assembly at the 2014 NC Indian Unity Conference. YOU GO LADIES!

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Youth and Elder Health Empowerment Efforts

“STAR for Health”

Our “STAR for Health” program (Strengthening Tribal Area Resources for Health) inspires our community ambassadors of various ages to make healthy choices for themselves and encourage others to do the same.  This goal is accomplished by making positive sustainable changes through gardening, training, creative programs, fitness, and educational events.  On a weekly basis, youth participate in various learning activities to promote health, fitness, and healthy living.  Youth ambassadors are trained to share wellness messages with other youth and families throughout the community.  The youth are paired with elder leaders who provide guidance on how to plant, grown, harvest, and prepare healthy food from the garden.

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Active Living/Healthy Eating Gathering

Our Tribe has scheduled an Active Living/Healthy Eating Gathering for our tribal community.  The Gathering involves youth and elders, incorporates Native games (bow and arrow shooting, and relay races), healthy eating displays and foods, and recruits volunteers for the community garden.  Additionally, the Tribe has decided to modify the plans for the gathering.  Rather than purchasing foods for tasting stations, the Tribe will sell healthy foods.  The community garden vegetables and chicken will be sold to raise funds and sustain our health projects.

Grant Administration and Partnership Capacity-Building

To expand our knowledge and skills around grant administration and growing partnerships, the Waccamaw Siouan Tribe participated in ongoing technical assistance with the HNNC team.  Our community members and leaders participated in all HNNC workshops, including sessions at the NC Indian Unity Conference and the Conference for American Indian Women of Proud Nations.  In addition, our community members are participating in the Sappony 5K, and networking and supporting our fellow NC tribes and Indian urban organizations in their HNNC project.  To invest in our Tribe’s technological capacity around our healthy projects long-term, we have purchased a computer, three flash drives, and one external hard drive.  These items will be used to build the capacity of our Tribe to communicate with the Technical Assistance Team and partners in sharing documents and pictures of our activities.  This will enable us to have storage space for our files and to create a Healthy Eating Calendar and other tools for the Tribe to use for years to come.

Waccamaw Siouan Tribe HNNC Partners and Collaborators

Waccamaw Siouan Tribe Contact Information

Brenda Moore

Waccamaw Siouan Tribe, Inc.

PO Box 69

7275 Old Lake Rd

Bolton, NC  28423

Phone:  910-655-8778

Fax:  910-655-8779

brendamoore20@aol.com