Meskwaki Nation – The Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa

Internship: Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative, Local Foods Project Assistant

The Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative (MFSI) was formed in early 2012 and a Strategic Plan was developed in 2013. In the plan were six objectives with a total of 101 strategies to help meet the goal of creating a sustainable community food system. Almost all of the 101 strategies were implemented during the last 7 years.  While some of the objectives were met, challenges in meeting those objectives often became apparent over time. There is a need to update the Strategic Plan to ensure continued community, executive, and tribal council support and to identify policies, strategies, and factors that will help the program to overcome challenges.  

2021 is the rebuilding year for MFSI.  One of our primary goals is to create the foundation of continued food sovereignty programming for the Meskwaki tribe.  This project will utilize the tools of survey, research, education and engagement to increase community feedback and leverage community and tribal leadership support to increase the effectiveness of food sovereignty programming and projects. Meskwaki Food Sovereignty seeks an intern that is strong in research skills to assist in our update process. This person should also be comfortable outside during the summer months helping to maintain program gardens, as CDC recommendations regarding COVID allow.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Perform qualitative research to assess the relational effects on food sovereignty programming success as it pertains to team dynamics when different cultural perspectives are involved
  • Research policies and resource management to help develop proposals for amendments and/or new policies and management practices
  • Interview key staff, including those who formed the program in 2012, and with community members vital to establishing the program
  • Review surveys, community assessment, and the 2013 Strategic plan
  • Review other MFSI materials as pertinent
  • Scan documents to create a digital database of planning materials
  • Perform work at onsite garden to better understand the needs and community use of the space

Qualifications & Skills Preferred:

  • Cultural competency when interacting with tribal community
  • Interest in Meskwaki history, local food systems, and ancestral foods
  • Strong research, editing, and communication skills
  • Ability to develop materials appropriate for community members
  • Ability to perform light gardening skills
  • Excellent listening skills

Supervisor: Shelley Buffalo, Coordinator, Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative