This past week, KivaSun Foods, a Native owned company founded by Notah Begay III, announced an agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) that resulted in the purchase of 520,000 pounds of bison for the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). According to KivaSun, “Native Americans have long regarded the bison as an integral part of their spiritual, physical and emotional existence. They not only rely on bison for nutrition and sustenance, they also use parts of the body to fashion tools, build shelter, and create clothing.” KivaSun will deliver its first shipment of bison for this new agreement this week, demonstrating how these agreements can have short-term impact in a meaningful way for communities in need.
Notah Begay III, a four-time PGA TOUR winner and golf analyst for NBC Sports and the Golf Channel, founded KivaSun Foods as an all-natural Native owned food company in 2010. Begay is also known for his health advocacy work and philanthropy through the NB3 Foundation, a non-profit designed to holistically fight childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes in Native American children.
"My hope is that this agreement will lead to the USDA purchasing more and more traditional Native foods from Native sources to provide to Native communities. If this happens, it will be a significant step forward in addressing health disparities among Native Americans resulting from lack of access to healthy, affordable food," said Notah Begay III.
The FDPIR is a federal program that provides food and hunger assistance services and nutritional education to Native Americans on and near reservations. The program is open to all 566 federally recognized tribes, and is administered by the Indian Tribal Organizations or an agency of a state government. Currently there are 103,000 recipients benefitting from this program.