Food Security for the Indigenous (New York Times)

April 10, 2021

Mia Hubbard, MAZON’s Vice President of Programs, has a letter to the editor in today’s New York Times. Here is the text of her full letter:

In “Many Need Food, Energizing Push to Expand Relief” (front page, April 5), you weave the transformative potential of anti-poverty measures in the American Rescue Plan in the lives of hungry families. But we do not yet know whether this change will equally benefit Indigenous communities, where the federal government has historically failed to meet fundamental trust and treaty obligations.

Families living in Indigenous communities are twice as likely to experience food insecurity, even before the pandemic. Many Native American children experience hunger because of the simple and unjust fact that the federal government bars tribes from administering critical nutrition programs like SNAP and school meals.

Tribes and Native communities have their own solutions for reclaiming and achieving food security. To truly promote equity, Congress must affirm tribal sovereignty and enable tribes to directly administer child nutrition programs.

Expanding tribal authority to administer culturally relevant, essential services would signal a true commitment to advancing equity and a self-determined future for Indian country.

Mia Hubbard, Los Angeles
The writer is vice president for programs at MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger.