Brave Heart Society
Good Heart Garden

Seva’s grant and technical assistance will support traditional foods system revitalization in the Yankton community. The project will expand and re-inforce the existing Native foods garden initiative with learning activities for high-risk youth and their families.

Tribal memory of gardens is preserved in the Grandmother’s Circle of Brave Heart but many youth have not had this experience in Housing Development areas.  Food sovereignty — the ability to feed oneself — was a tribal value that was lost due to the coming of “cluster” housing on limited land areas on the reservation. This cultural health was a mainstay in tribal families that has been replaced by addictions to saturated fat-laden soda and potato chips, and other fast food. By reinforcing Dakota food sovereignty, the community can create a buffer to these enemy food choices.

The Grandmothers’ Circle governs the Brave Heart Society, “to enhance and preserve the Dakota culture for the coming generations, thereby creating strong, competent worldly families with a strong foundation and an indigenous worldview. The society utilizes traditional knowledge to empower tribal people and their families with cultural values they need to face 21st century problems.”

Together with Seva Foundation, Brave Heart is partnering to continue its role in tribal leadership and to implement a flourishing Good Heart Garden (Cante Waste Woju).

The Good Heart Garden Project is a way to honor indigenous knowledge and reinforce learning activities that feed the spirits of high risk youth and families. With adequate resources this project will enhance family self-esteem and knowledgeable tribal sustainability in food sovereignty. The lack of access to healthy foods is a pressing issue that the Grandmothers’ Circle took into account when advancing an initiative to create traditional winter ground storage.

The plan is to build pride in cultural self-sufficiency in the face of diabetes, obesity and other chronic stress-related diseases such as lack of exercise. Brave Heart is overcoming the health issues that stands in the way by physically producing an Earth Lodge/yurt storage in the “old way” to store vitamin rich foods and organic medicine for the betterment of its people.

Seva is honored to expand on our past garden work with Brave Heart Society this year and support this indigenous model of community wellness.

Profile prepared by Daniel Rodriguez, Seva Foundation Program Intern

“Our goal is to raise more than onions and carrots. It is to re-raise a generation of young people to connect to the Earth and to tradition.”

Faith Spotted Eagle
Volunteer Manager
Brave Heart Society




Running Strong for American Indian Youth

Brave Heart Society is the revival of a traditional cultural society for women.  Learn more!

Gifts of Service
You can support the Native American Community Health Program and projects like this by giving a  Gift of Service today!

Living Native 2010
An exciting project being implemented in partnership with the Intertribal Friendship House.

Camp Qalhaq
Seva and Alaska's Ilinniagvik Attautchikun bring traditional foods back to Native communities along the Kobuk River.



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