NWIC's Valerie Segrest speaks at White House

On June, 1, Northwest Indian College (NWIC) Native Nutrition Educator, Valerie Segrest spoke at a White House event celebrating the one year anniversary of Let's Move! in Indian Country.

Segrest, who works at NWIC's Muckleshoot campus, was selected to be part of a panel discussion of individuals whose work has helped build a healthier future for American Indian and Alaska Native youth.

Segrest specializes in local and traditional foods and teaches classes on traditional foods and medicines for NWIC’s Cooperative Extension Department. She is a graduate of the NWIC and received a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition from Bastyr University in 2009.

As an enrolled member of the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe, she also serves her community through coordinating the Muckleshoot Food Sovereignty Project. In 2010 she co-authored the book "Feeding the People, Feeding the Spirit: Revitalizing Northwest Coastal Indian Food Culture."

Segrest hopes to inspire and enlighten others about the importance of a nutrient-dense diet through a simple, common sense approach to eating.

About Let's Move! in Indian Country

By Charlie Galbraith, Associate Director of the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs

Over the past year Let’s Move! in Indian Country has worked with stakeholders across the country to help connect communities, schools and tribal leader to resources, funding, trainings and programs that will help improve the health of the next generation.  As a key component of the First Lady’s comprehensive initiative Let’s Move!, the Let’s Move! in Indian Country program focuses on the unique hurdles that American Indian and Alaska Native youth must overcome to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  In the first year, we have seen considerable progress and the First Lady and the Administration remain committed to building towards the ultimate goal of ending the epidemic of childhood obesity in Indian Country within a generation.

In order to recognize this progress and the great work of leaders across Indian Country, the White House will host a panel discussion of individuals whose work has helped build a healthier future American Indian and Alaska Native youth in one or more of the four pillars of Let’s Move! in Indian Country:

• Creating a Healthy start on Life,
• Creating Healthy Learning Communities,
• Fostering Healthy, Comprehensive Food Systems Policies, and
• Increasing Opportunities for Physical Activity

On Friday, June 1, 2012 at 1:30 PM EDT, we will hear from several of these leaders who will share their stories on how they have inspired youth in their own communities to live healthier lifestyles and left a lasting footprint on the road to towards building a healthier future for all Native people.  The panel discussion will include athletes, tribal leaders, program directors, healthcare professionals and others who will share their stories and provide insight on how their efforts can be expanded to communities across Indian Country.  The discussion will streamed online at www.WhiteHouse.gov/live. 

In the past year, the White House has focused substantially on the advancement of American Indian and Alaska Native health through Let’s Move! in Indian Country.  In June of 2011, the First Lady invited a group of American Indian children to come and plant the “Three Sisters” crops (Cherokee White Eagle corn, Rattlesnake pole beans, and Seminole squash) in the White House Kitchen Garden.  In July 2011, as part of the Summer South Lawn Series, the White House again hosted Native youth at the first-ever South Lawn Lacrosse Clinic, which included players from the Iroquois Nationals team who taught local and Native American youth about the sport and its cultural traditions.  Also in July 2011, the Department of Justice and federal agency partners hosted a week-long National Intertribal Youth Summit in Santa Fe, NM which featured daily exercise clinics and field trips focused on physical activity and nutrition education.  To learn more about what you can do right now in your communities please visit www.LetsMove.gov/IndianCountry.

Charlie Galbraith is an Associate Director in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.