Thinking inside and outside the box: local and national considerations of the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR)


Jennifer Sowerwine, Megan Mucioki


diabetes, FDPIR, food insecurity, food policy, food security, Native Americans, obesity, rural


Science Direct

Year Published:


Policy Summary

Since the arrival of settlers in North America, Native Americans have lost access to their healthy and traditional foods, largely due to lack of food access on reservations. Since then, Native Americans have received boxed foods through the USDA Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations ( FDPIR). Through focus groups, researchers have come to the conclusion that not only are these boxes important for nutritional supplementation but they provide secure meals for youth that are struggling with drug addictions and stressful home situations. However, these boxed meals do not contain traditional Native American food that are significantly healthier such as bison, nuts, and berries. The boxes have a limited amount of good quality meat, lack of fresh fruits/vegetables, and a substantial amount of goods high in carbohydrates. The quality of the food has improved in comparison to 30 years ago but there is room for improvement in order to ensure the well-being of Native American communities.

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