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posted: 8/16/2014 1:25 PM

Native Americans connect to past through city gardens

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  • In this July 10 photo, Eli Suzukovich III, left, explains the different plants the group will put in the ground during a gardening exercise with the American Indian Center in Chicago. The center is using gardens to teach urban Native American youth about the importance of their connection to the land.

      In this July 10 photo, Eli Suzukovich III, left, explains the different plants the group will put in the ground during a gardening exercise with the American Indian Center in Chicago. The center is using gardens to teach urban Native American youth about the importance of their connection to the land.
    Associated Press

  • In this July 10 photo, Lilah White, left, and Natalie Cree Arguijo carry plants during a gardening exercise with the American Indian Center in Chicago. The center is using gardens to teach urban Native American youth about the importance of their connection to the land.

      In this July 10 photo, Lilah White, left, and Natalie Cree Arguijo carry plants during a gardening exercise with the American Indian Center in Chicago. The center is using gardens to teach urban Native American youth about the importance of their connection to the land.
    Associated Press

  • In this July 10 photo, students and instructors work together along a railroad embankment during a gardening exercise with the American Indian Center in Chicago. The center is using gardens to teach urban Native American youth about the importance of their connection to the land. The children are planting a mixture of edible and medicinal plants.

      In this July 10 photo, students and instructors work together along a railroad embankment during a gardening exercise with the American Indian Center in Chicago. The center is using gardens to teach urban Native American youth about the importance of their connection to the land. The children are planting a mixture of edible and medicinal plants.
    Associated Press

 
Associated Press

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.

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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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