In their Wounded Knee, South Dakota home, Walter Littlemoon looks at the book his wife, Jane Ridgway, helped him write over the course of four years. “Something was wrong with me, and I couldn’t function like what I thought a human being should.” The words he used to describe his problem became the title of a documentary. “I didn’t know the medical words. So I called the problem what I knew it to be: the thick dark fog.” (Used with permission/Kahlil Hudson/Image courtesy of Vision Maker Media. © 2012 High Valley Films)
Documentary filmmaker Jonathan Skurnik listens to Walter Littlemoon at Walter's house in Wounded Knee, South Dakota. Littlemoon is the focus of “The Thick Dark Fog,” which are the words he used to describe memories he blocked of years about the abuse he received in a federal Indian boarding school. (Used with permission /Kahlil Hudson/Image courtesy of Vision Maker Media. © 2012 High Valley Films)
Unfortunately, in the 19th and 20th centuries, the government often actively suppressed Indian culture by banning certain spiritual practices on reservations. It was only in 1978, with the passage of the American Indian Religious Freedom Act, that the government formally established a policy to protect Native American Sacred Sites and traditional forms of worship.
In federal Indian schools, children were often not allowed to be Indians – to express their Native culture or identity in any way was to risk being severely humiliated or abused. Many Native Americans lived with this trauma well into adulthood. More than 100,000 Native American students attended these schools from 1879 to the present. Although a few of the schools still exist, attendance is no longer mandatory.
Read more »
Brewing tanks from a craft brewery. Massachusetts used a USDA Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program grant to help local farmers tap into the $14.3 billion craft brewing industry. Photo courtesy Greg Peverill-Conti.
Over the years, the way we look at food in America has changed and evolved. As people explore new tastes, adjust their diets and become more familiar with new ingredients, it is up to farmers and ranchers to stay innovative and responsive to new demands. Through my role at USDA I often visit with farmers and ranchers about what it takes to grow their businesses, to remain competitive in a global market, and how USDA is an important partner to help meet these challenges.
The Federal-State Marketing Improvement Program (FSMIP), administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), is designed to support research projects that improve the marketing, transportation and distribution of U.S. agricultural products. FSMIP is a collaboration between Federal and State governments that puts matching funds from each towards projects that bring new opportunities for farmers and ranchers.
Read more »