White Earth Land Recovery Project

Archive for Sustainable Communities

Labovitz Lecture at USD





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Sugarbush 2011

Izhkigamisegi – Geezis [The Moon (month) of Boiling]


It’s that time!!!

Iswi-baakwa-togan (…or Sugar Bush)

…is that time of the year when

Anishinaabeg (Ojibwe people)

…are out and about

…tapping the trees

…and preparing to make

Maple Syrup,

Maple Candy,


Maple Butter.


Makes your mouth water just to think of it!!

So get your orders in now!!


Traditional Native American Farmers’ Association

“Revitalizing traditional agriculture for spiritual and human need”

Native American Traditional Farmers AssociationBased in the indigenous communities in New Mexico, but with projects as far away as Belize, the Traditional Native American Farming Association (TNAFA) is a leading voice for food sovereignty, with many successes getting farmers back on the land, farming organically and with traditional methods. 

Clayton Brascoupe

Clayton Brascoupe

Brascoupé and other TNAFA members believe that family oriented farming is the best approach in developing a sound future in agriculture, which has always been at the heart of the community’s economy. A fine show indeed. 

  • To revise the decline in traditional, family-scale farming among the community by developing educational programs that demonstrate sustainable agriculture.
  • To demonstrate and train communities and youth in a holistic approach to sustainable agriculture based upon community ethics and traditions.
  • To help the community access heirloom/ traditional seeds
  • To educate the community on traditional seed saving and the GE, GMO threat to our traditional seed heritage.
  • Identify local resources for agriculture, compost materials, local plants, local herbs, water supplies, local farmers, local markets, etc.
  • Revive and restore a sustainable economic base through organic agriculture for our youth

The lessons learned through traditional/organic agriculture are used throughout the organizations’ management. Not one element is more important then the others, to the success of the garden. All elements are of equal importance to the success, all working together for the betterment of all. All TNAFA programs are co-sponsored within our community organizations. Communities that have invited us to assist with the development of agricultural projects are also required to “invest” time and other resources to the program.

TNAFA members, who include youth, elders, male and female, feel that a sound agriculture base is needed to build healthy communities, including both the physical and spiritual health of their people. TNAFA addresses social, economic and health problems in its members’ communities.

TNAFA Programs

  • Corn processing for home use (traditional foods/nutrition)
  • Community seed “library” workshops (methods of storing and growing for seed)
  • Seed distribution (free seed and information about seed)
  • Home gardening workshops (garden design, composting, organic methods, irrigation, drip irrigation, etc.)
  • Traditional Agricultural/Permaculture Design Course (12 day course on sustainable community design)
  • Youth in agriculture (developing youth garden projects)
  • Other workshops (marketing traditional crops, packaging, value added crops, growing herbs,)

Learn more at http://www.7genfund.org

Contact at :

Traditional Native American Farmers Association
PO Box 31267
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87594

Phone 505-983-4047
E-mail cbrascoupe [at] yahoo.com

Community Gardening

In 2004, we obtained a significant supply of traditional seed stock for production by community members and WELRP, and have generated an increased awareness of the benefits of growing and eating more traditional foods, over fast foods, or inexpensive processed foods from the store. There has been an increased interest by the Elderly Nutrition Program to provide traditional foods on their menus for the elderly. We continue to work to locate additional seed stock, as well as donations for fruit and nut tress, as the communities on the reservation have expressed interest in community orchards.

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Heritage Turkeys

Heritage Turkeys are here! The White Earth Land Recovery Project has teamed up with local organic farmers Curt and Darlene Ballard to raise varieties of traditional turkeys. Almost all of the turkeys available in grocery stores today are test tube turkeys floating in a shallow gene pool. For fifty years the improved, broad breasted bronze has been the standard. What this means, is that a turkey gets fat so quickly, it can’t even mate naturally, but must be reproduced artificially. We then baste and brine what remains of those poor birds after slaughter, but the joy of eating turkey wasn’t always in the dressing. Generations ago, raising turkeys was a serious business. As with corn, there were different turkeys in different regions, each with its own unique taste, texture and colorful feathers. This past spring, (2004) we began raising twenty Bourbon Red Turkeys, some of which will be available for order this coming winter. We are hoping to begin breeding the birds, and expanding the farming operations of these traditional turkeys.

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Maple Syrup

Maple Syrup – As the weather becomes warmer and the days become just a bit longer, the White Earth Land Recovery Project begins to prepare for the Maple Syrup season, or Iskigamizige-Giizis (Maple Sugar Moon). Each year WELRP’s Sustainable Communities staff, along with numerous families from the community, come together in late February (Namebini giizis) to begin the process of tapping the maple trees. For the next two to three weeks, approximately 4000 taps are hand -tapped into selected trees in our pristine sugarbush. Once the trees are tapped, and the sun begins to turn the cool days into warm ones, we anxiously await for the first drops of sap to appear in our buckets.

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Community Education

On July 15 2004, three youth from the community set off from White Earth, and headed toward the warm deserts of New Mexico and the Pueblo Lands, to learn about Traditional Agriculture and Permaculture design. John Bruguier, Michael Bower, and Jared Keezer, accompanied by Diana King, and Sarah Alexander of the White Earth Land Recovery Project, traveled to New Mexico for a 10-day intensive course run by the Traditional Native American Farmers Association. Native Youth from all over the country came to learn about traditional agriculture, and to make, “The Old way new Again,” as Clayton Brascoupe describes it. Clayton along with Louie Hena, of Tesuque Pueblo have been running the Native American Permanent Culture Design Course for the last nine years. The course was started as an attempt to address environmental and health problems within their own community, as well as Native Communities throughout North America.

WELRP Student go to Traditional Agriculture and Permaculture Design course

The White Earth Land Recovery project is hoping to continue to send students to this Permaculture design course, in order to develop youth leaders within the community who will be able to contribute to our work on recovering local food systems.

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