with input from community leaders and elders in terms of identifying priorities and crafting programs appropriate to individual tribes.

"Native Americans traditionally lived in balance with nature," says Redford, a longtime supporter of Native American causes. “Plants and animals were sacred. Mindful hunting, gathering, and feasting fed body, mind, and spirit. The march of modernity has imposed values of greed and gluttony, resulting in disharmony for many Native peoples. Today, the original stewards of North America are suffering from nutrition-related sickness and death, including hunger, diabetes, and obesity.”

The Center aims to ensure a healthy start for Native children and families by promoting healthy lifestyles, pioneering community-based mental health, tackling
diseases, and training the next generation of tribal health leaders.

“Over the past 150 years,” says the Center’s director, Mathuram Santosham, M.D., M.P.H., “American Indian populations have taken the lead in providing information that has led to the discovery of prevention and treatment strategies of numerous infectious diseases. As a result,
  millions of lives have been saved around the world. The first peoples of our nation traditionally had healthy diets and healthy lifestyles, until they were forced to change their living habits because of subjugation and exploitation. It is time to look to them again to lead us out of the epidemics of obesity and diabetes that plague this nation as a result of decades of unhealthy lifestyles and diets.”

Dr. Santosham introduced oral rehydration therapy (ORT) to the world through his research in Native communities. ORT, an electrolyte solution known as Pedialyte, has greatly reduced infant mortality around the globe.

In parallel, the mission of Feast for the Future’s partner, Share Our Strength, is to end childhood hunger in the United States by collaborating with the most successful organizations in the country and focusing efforts in three primary areas: increasing access to programs that provide food to children and their families, strengthening community resources that connect children to healthy food, and im- proving families’ knowledge about available programs and how to get the most from limited resources.

Finally, the National Football
  hat do actor Robert Redford, the Namingha family, national health organizations, major philanthropists, and four famed chefs all have in common? The answer is simple: a passion for ending hunger in our most vulnerable Native American communities.

Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health, Share Our Strength, the NFL, Robert Redford, and his wife, Sibylle Szaggars, kicked off a new trend on July 30 with Dan and Frances Namingha, Rick and Beth Schnieders, and Olivia Sloan hosting a star-studded event to raise funds to advance hunger-prevention and nutrition-promotion services in Native American communities.

The Feast for the Future featured four great chefs: Eric DiStefano (Coyote Cafe and Geronimo), Mark Miller (Red Sage), David Sellers (Amavi), and Freddie Bitsoie
(Classic Cooking Academy). The four teamed up to prepare sumptuous hors d’oeuvres and a multicourse dinner for 80 guests in the intimate gallery setting. The chefs donated their time and talents. Live and silent auctions featured art, culinary, and sports items.

The Center for American Indian Health partners with tribes to achieve renewed health and well-being for Native Americans. Since its founding in 1991, the center has continued to focus on working with tribes to foster strength-based approaches to sustain and nurture tribes’ unique heritage and identity, and to fortify health leadership internally through training, employment, and education. In recognition that each tribe has different needs, this is done

Conversations rolled at the main table between Elizabeth Sackler, Robert Redford, his wife, Sibylle Szaggars, and Dan Namingha
  League Players Association has worked in partnership with the Center and SOS to promote sports/life-skills camps for Native American teens and physical-fitness programming in tribal communities.

Art collector and philanthropist Philip Smith and several other attendees raved that this was “the event of the year” in Santa Fe, and with good cause. Smith, former executive director of the National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council, says, “This has been one of the most memorable events I have ever attended over my many decades in Washington, D.C., and Santa Fe. It was a large enough gathering to succeed in the goal—raising funds for the kickoff of the new Feast for the Future program—yet small enough to be intimate and personal for all the guests. Robert Redford was most generous in the time he spent with many guests at the reception. The dinner was perhaps one of the best, if not the very best, I have had in Santa Fe over the last three decades.

The ambiance of the Niman gallery
  was superlative, a fine environment for a gala evening that we will all remember.”

Sysco donated food for the event while all involved in its planning donated their time and resources so that about every dollar raised could go directly to tribal communities.
Frances Namingha comes from Ohkay Owingeh and her husband, artist Dan Namingha, is from the Hopi tribe. You might say these role models for giving back quite literally put their money where their mouth is. The Feast for the Future raised tens of thousands of dollars, which will go to three Native American communities: Santo Domingo Pueblo, the Tuba City chapter of the Navajo Nation, and the White Mountain Apache tribe.

To join the organizing partners of Feast for the Future, please contact Frances Namingha at (505) 988-5091 or —Rima Krisst

Niman Fine Art, 125 Lincoln Avenue, Santa Fe,
 Fall 2009/Winter 2010
      Photography by Douglas Merriam