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Tribal communities in Minnesota are working with SHIP to improve health by elevating cultural
wisdom and initiating engagement across generations.
Efforts focus on increasing opportunities for healthy food access and physical activity, with strategies
that are tailored to tribal needs and culture. Those strategies use culture as a bridge for health and
healing, integrating traditional activities, teachings, and ceremonies.

Despite the adversity that Native people in the United States face, indigenous cultural knowledge and
resiliency remain intact in Minnesota communities. Through Tribal SHIP, innovative and culturally
appropriate strategies are being used to advance health equity; native people have some of the
lowest health outcomes in the state.

Culturally-Based Approaches

Healthy food access and knowledge of traditional indigenous food are pressing issues in tribal
communities. Food insecurity, poverty, and diet-related disease disproportionately affect native
people compared to Minnesota’s general population. Preserving and reclaiming food systems is
critical. Understanding the roles of sovereignty, culturally-based approaches to strengthening
community food practices and strategies for conveying traditional knowledge are important.

The rapid change from physically active lifestyles to more sedentary ones has also had a serious effect on
the health of American Indians. Traditional lifestyles allowed for greater energy expenditure from
physical labor through daily activities such as hunting, fishing, ricing and agricultural work, as well as
recreational activities, such as lacrosse and stickball and participating in pow wows.

Creating Healthy, Sustainable Tribal Communities

Tribal SHIP strategies designed to increase the availability of and access to physical activity include:

  • Providing engagement and education around traditional activities that uphold cultural-connectedness, healing and physical activity such as lacrosse, stickball, pow wow dancing and hoop dancing
  • Holding culture classes and camps on harvesting maple syrup and wild rice, canoeing and
    gathering wild foods and medicinal plants
  • Increasing the availability of safe outdoor and indoor recreation spaces and opportunities
    Supporting walkable and bikeable communities
  • Establishing Safe Routes to School
  • Sponsoring before- and after-school programming
  • Creating worksite policies that support physical activity
  • Helping health care providers connect with community organizations to improve patient access
    to preventive and chronic care services
  • Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Partnership (SHIP) 40

Tribal SHIP strategies designed to increase the availability of and access to healthy and indigenous foods

  • Preserving and reclaiming food sovereignty, cultural traditions, and native food systems
  • Integrating indigenous and healthy goods into community outlets
  • Building local food economies
  • Increasing local agricultural and food production
  • Gathering medicinal plants and wild foods
  • Ensuring sustainable development and practices
  • Creating worksite policies that support healthy foods and vending
  • Helping connect health care providers and community organizations to improve patient access to
    preventive and chronic care services


Bois Forte

The Bois Forte Reservation is located in northern Minnesota in Koochiching and St. Louis counties, approximately 40 miles south of the Canadian border. Tribal headquarters are located in Nett Lake.


  • Increase local agriculture and food production
  • Establish community hoop house; cooking, gardening, and food preservation classes, Boys & Girls Club gardening program
  • Build a community mindset for health and indigenous foods
  • Support culture/language club activities around food, cooking classes using traditional and wild foods
  • Improve and/or increase opportunities for physical activity
  • Support culture/language club activities around physical activity


Supported a collaboration with the culture and language programs, which has involved
integrating traditional and local food work into programming such as duck cleaning, maple sugar
camps and gathering high bush cranberries



Becca Adams
13071 Nett Lake Road, Suite B
Nett Lake, MN 55772
Office: 218-757-3295
Email: radams@boisforte-nsn.gov

Bois Forte
Bois Forte Tribal Government - Nett Lake


5344 Lakeshore Drive
Nett Lake, MN 55772

Office: 218-757-3261
Toll Free: 1-800-221-8129
Fax: 218-757-3312
Email: Receptionist

Bois Forte Tribal Government - Vermilion


1610 Farm Road South
Tower, MN 55790

Office: 218-753-4542
Fax: 218-753-4055
Email: Receptionist

Urban Office - Minneapolis


1308 E. Franklin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Office: 612-871-6618

More info

Urban Office - Duluth


206 West 4th Street #204
Duluth, MN 55806

Office: 218-336-1048

More info