For Kia Whiteskunk, food is medicine.
As the Recreation Director for the Ute Mountain Ute tribe, she sees firsthand how nutritious food can provide both physical and emotional nourishment in her community at the Mobile Food Pantry hosted on the reservation every month.
“[This food] brings comfort. It brings the security of knowing that ‘I’m going to have something to cook for my family. I’m going to be able to take care of them in that way,’” said Kia.
Every month a Care and Share semi-truck arrives and drops off a wide variety of food for the tribe’s monthly distribution. Tribal members and community members can come by and select the food they’d like to take home to their families. What foods do people look forward to?
“The fresh produce,” Kia said immediately. “[Food] such as potatoes, sweet potatoes, squash, watermelons, melons, that kind of thing.”
However, for Kia, these distributions are about more than just food. They are a way to support her community, her home.
“There’s no other place like this – the history, the cultural and spiritual ties we have as Native Americans in this area,” Kia told us. “It doesn’t matter what we have as long as we have each other.”