Oklahoma tribes, USDA leadership building partnerships

The 2019 “Nation to Nation” Tribal Consultation Meeting and Tours, hosted by the Oklahoma Tribal Conservation Advisory Council, the Quapaw Nation and the Oklahoma leadership for the agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was held Aug. 19-20.

QUAPAW – The 2019 “Nation to Nation” Tribal Consultation Meeting and Tours, hosted by the Oklahoma Tribal Conservation Advisory Council, the Quapaw Nation and the Oklahoma leadership for the agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was held Aug. 19-20 at the Downstream Casino Resort.

All of Oklahoma's sovereign tribes were invited to attend. The “Nation to Nation” Tribal Consultation Meeting continues to grow and this year those attending gathered in far northeastern Oklahoma to share successes and offer support to one another. Many relationships were built through networking.

“We are so proud of the growth in Native Nations Agriculture and we appreciate all the hard work by Dr. Carol Couch (the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service Tribal Liaison) and the entire USDA.," said Quapaw Nation Chairman John L. Berrey. "We live by the same motto as Secretary Sonny Purdue: ‘Do good things and feed people.’”

Gary O’Neill, Oklahoma Natural Resources Conservation Service state conservationist, said Oklahoma USDA NRCS works closely with the tribes and their members to address conservation needs which has led to great successes.

"The Nation to Nation consultation event has resulted in more conservation success stories and enhanced partnerships between tribes and NRCS,” he said.

The eighth annual meeting began with a tour of the Quapaw Nation’s conservation accomplishments. This tour included the O-GAH-PAH Pride Kennel, O-GAH-PAH Bison, the Greenhouse and Pollinator Gardens, O-GAH-PAH Honey and Goats, O-GAH-PAH Coffee and the O-GAH-PAH Brewery.

The evening provided an opportunity for participants to visit tribal booths where they showcased their economic development and conservation accomplishments. Booths also featured various conservation partners of USDA and others. Food served during the evening social and the following day’s lunch utilized food from the tribes of Oklahoma: The bison, the beef steak, vegetables and desserts. The meat is from their herds, and the vegetables are grown in their seasonal tunnel and gardens. Chef Greg Bolton of the Downstream Casino Resort utilized the Choctaw Nation pecans and Chickasaw Nation Bedre’ chocolate for different desserts.

The Tribal Consultation meeting, hosted by the OTCAC, began on the morning of Aug. 20 with the Honor Guard and Opening Prayer and the National Anthem in the Language of The Muscogee (Creek) Nation. The morning session included tribal success stories. After lunch, the schedule included a Tribal Consultation and networking opportunities followed by the closing prayer. Next, attendees left for tours which included the O-GAH-PAH Meat Processing Facility, the O-GAH-PAH Feeding Facility, the O-GAH-PAH Cattle Operation, the O-GAH-PAH Farmers Market, and the O-GAH-PAH Mercantile.

“This event provides us with an opportunity to engage tribal leaders and administrators from across Oklahoma and helps us identify ways that USDA can better serve tribal governments and tribal members, particularly those that are engaged in farming and-or ranching,” Crouch said. "We realize that protecting natural resources and preserving the land for future generations is a major priority among American Indian tribes.”

For more information on the Nation to Nation Tribal Consultation, contact Crouch at 405-742-1203 or carol.crouch@usda.gov.

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