New Mexico Delegation Protects Native Seeds

Apr 16, 2014

The New Mexico delegation is working to protect the legacy of Native seeds. Senator Martin Heinrich introduced a Senate companion bill (S. 2116) to the Native American Seeds Protection Act (H.R. 3782) sponsored by fellow New Mexican Reps. Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-1) and Ben Ray Luján (NM-3). The Act awards grants for research, education and training programs to protect the purity of Native American seeds.

The representatives, both members of the Congressional Native American Caucus, introduced bill late last year to help preserve Native American seeds that are used for cultural, religious, agricultural and other purposes.

According to Rep. Lujan Grisham, the legislation “would allow tribes, working in conjunction with qualified research entities, to obtain grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct research, education and training programs aimed at protecting the purity of Native American seeds. The legislation would also allow the construction of seed storage facilities to ensure these seeds can continue to play an integral role in tribal life for generations to come.”

In addition to seeds’ cultural importance, the legislation would provide more protection for Native harvesting and agricultural practices. The Pueblo of Tesuque expressed gratitude for the Representatives’ efforts and partnership in helping the Pueblo maintain sovereignty over their agricultural system.

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