WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) secured an amendment in the bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill to help protect and preserve Native American seeds used for cultural, religious, medicinal, ceremonial, and agriculture purposes.
“Our tribal communities have always enhanced New Mexico's rich culture and traditions,” said Sen. Heinrich. “I’m proud to have secured this provision in the Farm Bill to protect those traditions. This is a critical step forward and I'll continue to work with tribal communities to ensure tribal seeds are preserved and that future generations remain connected to their culture and heritage.”
“As vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, I stand with Tribes in support of cultural sovereignty and respect for traditional ways of life,” said Sen. Udall. “I’ve seen the cultural, health, and agricultural significance that traditional Native seeds hold for Tribes in my home state of New Mexico and across the country. This amendment will ensure Native seeds and traditional agricultural practices can continue to be passed down for generations to come.”
“We are excited about this significant step in the effort to sustain an integral piece of our cultural heritage. Traditional foods and tribal seeds need protection and support in order to survive for future generations. This study will provide the data and research necessary in order to create meaningful and long-term security. We thank Senators Heinrich and Udall for their support in this endeavor and for their unwavering support for the tribes of New Mexico,” said Pueblo of Tesuque Governor Frederick Vigil.
The provision directs the Government Accountability Office to conduct a study of marketplace fraud of traditional foods and tribal seeds and study the availability and long-term viability of tribal seeds.