Valerie Segrest.

Valerie Segrest often encounters people who want her to tell them what to eat. Instead, this native foods educator and registered member of Washington state’s Muckleshoot Indian Tribe says she works to “help people see the wealth of knowledge they come from, and use that to make healthier choices.” It’s a doubly empowering way to reconnect with cultural traditions and change food habits at the same time.

When it comes to the diet-related health problems in native communities, Segrest says, “you could take America and put it under a microscope. That’s what’s happening on every reservation.” In other words, diabetes rates are high, and access to healthy food — not to mention traditional foods — can be dicey at best.