11.14.18 – Members of the Prairie Band Potawatomi community took part in a free healthy cooking class. In the course of the evening, Community members received health information and watched a live cooking demonstration. While eating the resulting healthy meal, participants then discussed health issues specific to the PBPN community.
The evening kicked off with a discussion of current health statistics nationally and specific to the state of Kansas with information presented by Tandy Rundus, Northeast Regional Specialist of the K-State Research and Extension office. Rundus said this style of information outreach and sharing is occurring in each county across the state of Kansas, and tribal partners including Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation Council member Raphael Wahwassuck, thought it would be a welcome idea in the Prairie Band Potawatomi Community as another avenue to creating a healthy community.
The health of all Americans remains at the forefront of issues across the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, “We live in a time when we no longer expect that American children will live a longer life than their parents.” Food sovereignty is one of the many components that contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Learning ways to incorporate better health practices, including food selections and preparation, are simple yet effective practices that can lead to meaningful health results and benefits.
Jason Champagne of Native Chef, LLC presented a live food demonstration to about 30 members of the PBPN Community. Chef Champagne taught the group how to prepare a meal that was simple, healthy and financially accessible to all. For the base of the meal, Champagne procured vegetables from the PBPN Food Distribution Program (commonly referred to as Commodities). Chicken breasts purchased at a local store provided the protein portion of the meal. Chef Champagne relayed his processes, cooking pointers and other health related information throughout his demonstration. While preparing the meal, Chef Champagne revealed that he personally understood the challenge of making smart food choices and that by changing his own food selections he has recently lost 50 pounds.
After the food was cooked and served, participants experienced the flavor of a healthy meal without added sodium. As the group enjoyed their dinner, they re-grouped to explore the unique health issues of the community along with available and needed resources. Chef Champagne reminded the group more than once that food can be very healing and Rundus stated that culture can be protective of health also.
The evening activity sponsored by the Tribal Health Summit partnership, which includes all of the tribes in Kansas, along with other health-focused organizations, is one of four activities planned over the course of the coming year. The outreach took place on Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at the PBPN Old Bingo Hall. The Tribal Health Summit partnership plans to hold three more activities before they host their annual Tribal Health Summit in the summer of 2019.
Chef Jason Champagne is the founder of Native Chef, LLC and member of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. Chef Champagne provides his cooking and health expertise to local communities and during the summer of 2018 worked with Prairie Band Potawatomi and Kickapoo youth. Chef Champagne also provided each participant with a copy of the recipe prepared, for more information on Native Chef, LLC visit jasonthenativechef.com.