Seeding Sovereignty is a multi-prong approach to food sovereignty to support the White Mountain Apache community. It is run and organized by Cheryl Pailzote, a White Mountain Apache tribe member who credits her lifelong interest in water to her upbringing along the White River in Arizona. She is a farmer and an expert on water resources and applies that knowledge to water access solutions, sustainable food options, and community education and outreach.
Since Westward Expansion in the 1800s, Native American populations have lacked enough access to water. Eastern settlers pushed Native Americans off of fertile land and dammed and diverted rivers to benefit the colonists' endeavors, which took water access away from the area's original inhabitants. This has lead to water and agricultural issues that still exist today. Tribes, including the White Mountain Apaches, also face Climate Change droughts and high rates of food insecurity.
Seeding Sovereignty provides hands-on classes to teach community members to use water pumps to improve water access. These classes will be taught by water resources expert and White Mountain Apache Tribe member, Cheryl Pailzote. She will support food sovereignty through community classes on cooking and nutrition, family gardens, and seed saving. These classes will create a productive, empowering, and supportive community environment that will both fight these issues and preserve their culture.
As the effects of Climate Change worsen, these courses will equip community members to handle future droughts. Agricultural education will prepare families to sustainably feed themselves for the long-term. The communal and informal nature of the courses will also help strengthen the White Mountain Apache community and culture. These courses are empowering this community to thrive on their land and be fruitful in years to come.