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Monday, 30 March 2009 20:13

MFSI Mission Statement


Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative works to enable the Mvskoke people and

their neighbors to provide for their food and health needs now and in the future

through sustainable agriculture, economic development, community

involvement, cultural and educational programs.




About MFSI


Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative (MFSI) is a grassroots, Native American led

organization located in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, capitol of the Muscogee (Creek)

Nation.  The Mvskoke people were indigenous to what is now the Southeast

United States and are an American Indian federally recognized tribe.  Mvskoke

food heritage and traditions goes back in time long before the Trail of Tears

forced them to Oklahoma. For centuries the Mvskoke maintained a successful

agriculture based culture that sustained large populations living in towns along

the rivers and creeks (so European settlers called them “Creek Indians”).  These

were the “mound builders” who developed a sophisticated civilization, taking

care of the food, spiritual and political needs of their people.  

      Today these cultures still exist as the Muscogee, Seminole, Chickasaw,

Choctaw, Cherokee and Yuchi tribes.  The respective languages are still used by

many and the ceremonial dances, songs and practices are still carried on. 

Growing, preserving and using traditional foods plays an important role in

cultural activities.  MFSI seeks to preserve the food heritage and traditions of

these Indigenous peoples through hands-on classes, educational programs,

intergenerational sharing and  sustainable agriculture practices.


Board of Directors

        Jackson Barnett (Mvskoke)                                

       Jackson Barnett  

Jackson Barnett is a full-blood Mvskoke citizen who is a fluent speaker of the language. 

He serves as the Manager of Senior Services for the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and

teaches weekly language lessons at the Tulsa Creek Indian Center. 

In his leisure time he enjoys fishing.



MFSI Welcomes New Board Members



Liz Holata (Mvskoke)





Chumona Deere (Mvskoke)




Duane Meadows (Cherokee)


Duane Meadows is the coordinator of Program Initiative and Exercise Program Manager,

M.Ed., CI-CPT at Muscogee (Creek) Nation Sapulpa Indian Health Center. He meets and

works with program participants to develop a safe and appropriate exercise plan to meet

identified physical activity goals. He is an Oklahoma State Certified Teacher,

Cooper Institute Certified Personal Trainer, International Traditional Games Society

Instructor and Experiential Learning Facilitator.





Advisory Committee

George Tiger  (Mvskoke) - Muscogee (Creek) Nation Principal Chief

Johnnie Brasuell (Mvskoke) – MCN Diabetes Program Director

Sharon Iverson- MCN Diabetes Program Dietitian

Emman Spain (Seminole)– MCN Cultural Preservation

John West (Cheyenne)– Horticulturist

Yvette Wiley (Mvskoke) – MCN Environmental Services

Lou Fixico (Mvskoke) –  MCN Elderly Nutrition Services

Donna Williams (Mvskoke) –MCN citizenship Office

Ex Officio Members

Lester Ligons - USDA/NRCS tribal liaison

William (Bud) McCombs (Mvskoke) - Hunter, Fisher, Gardener


Darrell Fox (Mvskoke) - Executive Director

Dicey Barnett (Mvskoke) - CFP Garden Manager

June Marshall (Kiowa) - Office Manager

Rita Willams (Mvskoke) - Education and Policy Coordinator

Stephanie Berryhill (Mvskoke) - Youth Coordinator

Lynn Duke- Communications/Media Coordinator



Site Managers


Richard Belcher (Mvskoke) - Eufaula Indian Community Garden Manager




Dicey Barnett (Mvskoke) - Wilson Indian Community Garden Manager


Founding Director


Vicky Karhu has dedicated her life to preservation of farmlands, including Southeastern

Indigenous cultural sites, and advocating for the rights, protection and preservation of

land-based cultures. She is Founding Director of the Mvskoke Food Sovereignty Initiative

in Okmulgee, Oklahoma and has worked with the Indigenous Peoples of the southeastern

US for over 30 years. She serves on the board of directors of the Community Food Security

Coalition (since 2009) and the Leadership Team of the International Institute of Indigenous

Sciences (founding member) where she brings the voice of small farmers and ranchers as

well as rural and tribal communities to the table. She earned her living as an organic market

and estate gardener while raising four children in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She is currently

sharing her knowledge and experience with several non-profit organizations and living in

rural northern New Mexico. She enjoys growing organic vegetables, seed saving, visiting with her

children and grandchildren and balances many hours spent on the computer with regular practice of Tai Chi.


A majority of the Board, Advisory Committee and staff are Muscogee (Creek) citizens.




MVTO to Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation, Seventh Generation Fund, USDA/CSREES, Reach Legacy Program, Hostgator, First Nations Development Institute, Honor the Earth Fund of the Tides Foundation, SSAWGT&TA and our friends who have donated time and money to MFSI.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 07 May 2013 14:08
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