Health & Education

Tribal Council approves produce prescription grant

06.14.2023 Danielle Harrison Tribal Council, Health & Wellness

By Danielle Harrison

Smoke Signals assistant editor/staff writer

Tribal Council approved an application for an Indian Health Service produce prescription grant during its Wednesday, June 14, meeting.

The pilot program’s goal is to improve Tribal member health outcomes through improved access to fruits, vegetables and healthy traditional foods. It will be administered in conjunction with the Tribe’s Community Health program, according to Health Services Executive Director Kelly Rowe.

During a Legislative Action Committee meeting held on Tuesday, June 13, Rowe said the two-year, $479,240 grant would be awarded by the end of August and the program would begin with 40 participants, with an eventual goal of increasing to 75.

“This will really help with food insecurity and also grow our programming,” Rowe said.

Tribal Council Secretary Michael Langley said he hoped that cultural food, particularly camas, would be included.

“This is really exciting to me and I know there have been studies that show that camas helps stave off diabetes in our people,” Langley said. “The more we return to those foods, the better our health outcomes will be.” 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Native Americans have a far greater chance of having diabetes than any other racial group, and are twice as likely as caucasians to have the health condition. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, which requires costly dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival.

Rowe said that there would be collaboration with the Natural Resources Department and its native plant nursery, as well as gathering and preparing traditional foods in the new demonstration kitchens currently under construction as part of a new, 10,000-square-foot building adjacent to the Tribe’s Health & Wellness Center.

“This will look not only at food, but also activity and how to build that into healthy living,” Rowe said. “I’m excited about it. We try to look at Western medicine and also build in our traditional ways.”

Tribal Council also set the agenda for the Sunday, June 25, special General Council meeting that was held at 11 a.m. The meeting was only for Tribal Council nominations and was held in the Tribal Governance Center.

In other action, Tribal Council:

  • Approved an agreement authorizing the Tribe’s Historic Preservation Office to accept and implement the interstate bridge replacement intergovernmental agreement for an amount not to exceed $300,000 per year for two years with a possible extension;
  • Approved an agreement to allow Tribal Council Chairwoman Cheryle A. Kennedy or Rowe to sign all documents required for Oregon Community Foundation’s Project Turnkey 2.0 funding, including the grant agreement, which will be used to acquire properties for temporary and permanent supportive housing for Tribal members with behavioral health diagnoses;
  • Approved three credit cards for Natural Resources Department’s wildland fire and emergency needs, each with a $5,000 credit limit, and one credit card with a $2,500 limit for Communications Director Sara Thompson;
  • Approved an application to the Indian Health Service for its Addressing Dementia in Indian Country: Models of Care two-year grant for $400,000;    
  • And enrolled two infants into the Tribe because they meet the enrollment requirements stated in the Tribal Constitution and Enrollment Ordinance.

Three approved authorizations to proceed also were included in the June 14 Tribal Council packet. The first authorized the Cultural Resources Department to enter into a contract with Stephen Dow Beckham to perform research and report writing for up to $22,500. The second and third authorized Interim General Manager Chris Leno to sign grant applications with the Oregon Department of Emergency Management and Federal Emergency Management Agency for $66,000 and $25,000, respectively, for fiscal year 2023.

To watch the entire meeting, visit the Tribal government’s website at and click on the Government tab and then Videos.