Connecting Cultures in FFA

Brule performance, 2011 National FFA Convention

By Kelsey Kennedy

For Josh Moore, it all started his senior year of high school with an essay contest sponsored by the Intertribal Agriculture Council, an organization that promotes the conservation, development and use of agricultural resources for Native Americans. Soon, Moore was elected state vice president of the Arizona FFA association and was traveling all over the country to spread his message: Native Americans and their contributions to agriculture are important and these students need something like FFA in their lives.

Eventually he was working with Erica Flores, coordinator for Diversity and Inclusion for the National FFA Organization, to help plan the Native American Heritage Celebration at the 84th National FFA Convention. The celebration featured displays of Native American culture on the national convention’s main stage.

Also included was a round table discussion for FFA members, advisors and staff and members of the Native American community, including Janie Simms Hipp, senior tribal advisor to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture and the director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Tribal Relations. The goal was to give FFA members a taste of Native American culture and educate them about diversity within FFA. Moore described the challenge best: “The biggest barrier between Native Americans and the rest of FFA is misconception.”

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