Native Americans connect to past through gardens

Teaches kids the cultural significance of plants

CHICAGO - The American Indian Center in Chicago has developed an Urban Ecology program designed to help Native American children reconnect with nature.

The program provides gardens for the youths to grow edible and medicinal plants while also learning about cultural relevancy.

Chicago's program is unique to the area but some Indian Health Service centers across the country are teaching communities about healthy eating through their own gardens.

Chicago project coordinator Eli Suzukovich III says the garden helps Native American children whose elders moved from reservations to urban areas understand the cultural significance of plants.

Chicago has one of the 10 largest native populations in the U.S. Many moved to urban areas after the federal Indian Relocation Act of 1956.

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