At tonight’s State Dinner for visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel, guests will have a unique link to Indian Country and the health and well being of Native children. They will be dining on vegetables that were harvested last Friday by twenty two American Indian children invited to the White House in conjunction with the launch of Let’s Move! in Indian Country (LMIC), the First Lady’s initiative to promote healthy lifestyles among Native American children. LMIC is a comprehensive initiative dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation. The four main goals of LMIC are to create a healthy start on life, develop healthy learning, increase physical activity, and improve access to affordable, healthy and traditional foods.
To focus on healthy and traditional foods, the First Lady was joined last Friday by American Indian children and LMIC supporters, including St. Louis Rams quarterback and member of the Cherokee Nation Sam Bradford, to harvest the spring crop and plant a “three sisters” garden. The “three sisters”– corn, beans and squash – are traditional Native American crops planted together to grow in a mutually beneficial manner: the corn provides a structure for the beans to climb, eliminating the need for poles; the beans provide the soil with nitrogen that the other plants use; and the squash spreads along the ground, blocking the sunlight and preventing weeds.
Shortly after arriving at the White House, the kids were welcomed by the First Lady and learned about the “three sisters” from Jefferson Keel, President of the National Congress of American Indians. Everyone, including the First Lady, then quickly got to work harvesting and planting in the garden. The group also had a surprise visitor who dropped in, literally from out of the sky – after the harvesting was complete everyone gathered by the White House to watch the Marine One helicopter land on the South Lawn and out stepped President Obama returning from his trip to a Chrysler Plant in Toledo, Ohio. Both the President and First Lady walked over to the group of kids, parents, agency officials and other supporters to shake hands and pose for pictures capping off a fun and productive afternoon at work in the White House kitchen garden. You can watch a video of the planting event and read additional information about this event by visiting this post by Robin Schepper, Executive Director of Let’s Move! Watch the video here.
Mr. Charles Galbraith serves in the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and Public Engagement.