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Tribal Nations Tour encourages college pursuit

Nearly 50 ASU students, faculty and staff take trip as part of outreach program
Tribal Nations Tour helps encourage Native youth to pursue college degrees
November 17, 2016

Team of ASU students, faculty and staff travels to Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation to encourage youth, perform community service

A team of ASU students, faculty and staff travelled recently to the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation to give one-on-one attention to young people and to encourage them to seek a college education.

Nearly 50 students, athletes and staffers visited the reservation this as part of an annual outreach program called the Tribal Nations Tour, which brings ASU to schools with high populations of American Indian students throughout the state. Each year, the tour presents several topics related to wellness, college readiness, career preparation and the pursuit of academic degrees.

They also offered up a day of community service, performing cleanup and painting duties in preparation for Orme Dam Victory Days celebration, which starts Friday and runs through the weekend.

“It’s important to bring educational awareness to Native communities and be able to say, ‘This is where you could be, and this is how you can help your tribe to evolve and prosper in the future,’” said Zach Doka, a junior at Arizona State University who is involved in the Tribal Nations Tour.

Doka grew up on the Fort McDowell Reservation and says he was blessed with good parents who stressed education, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t aware of obstacles facing Native youth.

“Our young people face a lot of hurdles,” Doka said. “Loss of our language, and culture is dwindling because of outside influences. It’s important that ASU came here today to show they care.”

University students took a tour of the reservation to learn about traditional and contemporary Yavapai culture, history, activism, gaming issues, as well as a brief overview of the Orme Dam controversy that locked the nation in a battle with the U.S. government 40 years ago.

The proposed dam would have flooded a large portion of the reservation and forced tribe members to relocate. The tribe defeated dam proponents in November 1981, and this weekend they will celebrate 35 years of social and economic gains.

Annabell Bowen, director for the Office of the President on American Indian Initiatives, said the purpose of the trip was twofold — to show support to all of Arizona’s 22 tribal nations, and to repay a kindness to Fort McDowell.

“This is a way to give back to the community for recognizing their contribution and what they have given to ASU,” Bowen said.

ASU’s Wassaja Scholarship is part of a $1 million gift that was donated from the Fort McDowell Yavapai Nation. This scholarship is designed to support ASU American Indian students, and it ranges from $500 to $800 per student per semester.

Bowen said the tour first started in 2010 and has visited all of Arizona’s federally recognized tribal nations. She said these trips have paid big dividends to the communities and the university.

"I have bumped into many students on campus who have told me, 'I remember when you came to my high school, and you're the reason we're here,'" Bowen said. "That's an example of how the Tribal Nations Tour has impacted and inspired students in the past."

Amber Poleviyuma was one of the students on the tour.

“Our Native communities made us who we are and made it possible for us to be here today,” said Poleviyuma, a nursing major. “I also enjoy learning the history of other tribes and the issues they still face today.”

ASU has one of the highest American Indian populations in the nation with more than 2,000 students and is a leading university in the country for awarding graduate degrees to Native students.

The opportunity to engage with the Native American community, using ASU athletes as role models and allowing them to gain a cultural perspective, is why ASU Associate Athletic Director William Kennedy has participated in the Tribal Nations tour since it began in 2010.

"A lot of what we do involves elementary school children, and regardless of ethnicity, they certainly look up to and will listen to athletes," said Kennedy, who brought the entire ASU lacrosse team and ASU basketball player Vitaliy Shibel.

Shibel, who is a native of the Ukraine, said it was his first time on a reservation. He was fascinated by the Yavapai way of life and culture.

“Here people live as one community, and everybody in the Ukraine is all for themselves,” Shibel said. “They are not selfish and care for each other.”

Care was the one word that resonated most with 15-year-old tribal member Amanda Vanegas, who is a sophomore at Fountain Hills High School.

"I'm so happy everyone came today because it really inspires me," Vanegas said. "Hearing other Natives talk about their backstories and their struggles helps me feel more confident in myself. If they can make it, so can I."

Last year the tour visited the Navajo, Hopi, Yavapai, White Mountains Apache, San Carlos and Tohono O'odham nations. Bowen said next year they plan to expand their outreach outside Arizona in states such as California, New Mexico and South Dakota.

"Our goal is to maintain our relationships and continue outreach to students," Bowen said.

 

Top photo: Shaandiin Parrish, an ASU senior majoring in political science, talks to another student at the Fort McDowell Reservation on Nov. 5. Parrish was crowned Miss Indian Arizona in October and is part of the outreach effort to Arizona’s 22 Indian tribes. Photo by Anya Magnuson/ASU Now

 
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ASU's Prepped helps food startups cook up a business plan

November 18, 2016

Mentors, industry experts work with food entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities in inaugural six-week program

When Kim Goode throws a party, she likes to walk around the house and watch people eat.

“It’s nice to see people enjoying what you make,” Goode (pictured above) said. “Food makes people happy, and if it’s good food, mmmmm. ... Our culture is based around food. If there’s a get-together, there’s going to be food there.”

Goode works part-time cooking for non-profits; she also attends school and takes care of her kids. She has had the dream of baking for a living since high school but never had the money or time to take her enterprise to the next level.

“Now I’m in a better place to take the time to invest in myself,” she said.

She wants to own a catering company — Goode Eats and Sweets. Soul food and retro desserts, like banana pudding, peach cobbler and sweet potato pie.

“I do a lot of things,” she said. “I put my twist on it — a little soul food, a little Southern. I like it all, so I try to make it all. ... My family is from Mississippi, so you’ve got to know how to cook something.”

She can make it all. The problem is she doesn’t know how to do it all. That’s where Prepped came in.

Prepped is a free six-week program offered by Arizona State University’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation. This fall was the inaugural kickoff. Entrepreneurship programs at ASU usually revolve around tech of some sort. The staff decided they wanted to do something different and chose to support food startups.

“Our intention is to support food entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities,” program coordinator Michele Rudy said. “We want to see your business grow.”

Goode was studying sustainable food systems at a community college when her instructor posted a link to the Prepped opportunity.

“There are a lot of programs for entrepreneurs, but none of them are for food,” she said.

Goode started cooking with her mother when she was 6 years old. “She got so good I don’t do it any more,” her mother said.

Until now, Goode’s sounding board has consisted of a cousin who always hangs out in her kitchen. “I just stick stuff in her mouth and she’s like, ‘Uh-huh,’ or ‘You need to do something with that.’ ” Possibly the most flattering compliment came from her grandmother, who asked her for her carrot cake recipe. “It’s just a little bit better than mine,” Goode said her grandmother told her.

“I never heard that from her before,” Goode said.

All of which is nice to hear, but won’t necessarily get a business off the ground. With Prepped, she has learned finance, food handling and basic commercial cooking.

“I didn’t even know you can rent a kitchen,” she said.

Goode’s mentor, Giovanni Pace, executive chef and owner of Scratch Catering in Tempe, has been walking her through getting a license.

“I was ignorant of what was out there,” Goode said. “They’ve kept me from buying things I really don’t need.”

On a Thursday afternoon, she is baking candied walnut tea cakes, an after-school or -church snack.

“It’s not super-sweet, but enough to satisfy that sweet tooth,” she said. (See recipe video at the bottom of this story.)

She kneads dough and nuts. Being a baker is something like being a surgeon; a lot of it is in the feel of the hands. “It’s a snack,” she said. “It’s not going to be super-pretty, but I’m going to pretty them up a bit.”

She rolls the dough flat, then punches out discs with a drinking glass. Fifteen minutes later, she opens the oven door for a peek. “Oh my — these are big like Texas.”

They are eye-closing, mouth-watering, give-me-another-one good. “Mmmm,” raptures a visitor.

Goode throws her head back, smiles, slaps her thigh. “That’s what I like to see!”

Six days later, Goode and her 14 classmates have gathered in the huge commercial kitchen in the Health South building on the Downtown Phoenix campus. Usually the kitchen is used by nutrition students.

Tonight is mentor night, where food experts will critique them and give advice. The entrepreneurs are on edge, and tension is palpable. They’ve brought ceviche, Belgian waffles, and a cake that looks like a jewelry box, among other dishes. Goode brought Peruvian chicken with Peruvian yellow rice.

“I hope it’s hot,” she said.

The mentors present include a marketing expert from Fry’s, restaurant owners, culinary school faculty, and food truck operators.

Michael Mazzocco, owner and president of The Herb Box Catering Company, is involved with the Small Business Leadership Academy in the W. P. Carey School of Business, which is how he heard about Prepped.

“I think it’s a great way to learn about myself and help others,” he said.

His company’s motto is “Passion lives here.”

“You have to be passionate,” he said. “If you’re not passionate, it won’t work.”

Rudy calls the room together and addresses the group. “Advice for the entrepreneurs: Ask lots of questions,” she said. “Advice for the mentors: Keep it real.”

The mentors move out around the room. One asks Goode if she’s on Instagram. (“Yes.”)

Questions fly around the kitchen.

“Who are your suppliers?”

“Do you have business cards?”

“How long do you marinate the shrimp?”

Sasha Reyes, 29, is an in-home personal chef. Many of her clients are professional athletes and people on restricted diets. Most athletes are careful about what they eat. Most, Reyes stressed.

“I’ve seen Crunch Berries in some people’s cupboards, and we get rid of those right away,” she said.

Tonight she’s dishing up two versions of roasted polenta with an eggplant caponata, one vegan, one with grilled chicken.

Reyes started her own company — Body & Soul Food — about a year ago.

“This course has definitely given me the ability to key in on areas where I have some weaknesses,” she said. “I’m going to make some changes in the new year, maybe do some rebranding.”

Lorenzo Santillan has a food truck in the wings. He sees classical Mexican cuisine, like mole and tacos al pastor, on his horizon. He also slaughters pigs for parties.

Brought from Mexico when he was 9 years old, Santillan sees self-employment as job security. No one is going to ask him for his residency papers if he’s the boss. With food, “I’m rewriting the history of my family,” he said. “This course has opened up so many doors and given us so many resources.”

His food truck will be named Ni De Aqui Ni De Alla; “Neither Here Nor There,” he said.

Santillan has earned his food handler’s certificate through the course. “Our mentors are amazing,” he said. “Each one has given us knowledge.”

He found accounting especially valuable. “That was an eye-opener,” he said. “I think by the end of this we’ll all understand where we need to be in the next six months.”

After the Prepped course ends, Goode plans to rent a kitchen space, “then I’m going to get out there and hustle as much as I can.”

This group’s final meeting will be the week of Thanksgiving. Applications for the next cohort will be accepted in the spring. For more information, visit: https://entrepreneurship.asu.edu/community/prepped

 

 

How to make Kim Goode's Candied Walnut Tea Cakes. Video by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

 

Top photo: Prepped entrepreneur Kim Goode poses for a portrait at her family home in Phoenix on Nov. 10. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

Scott Seckel

Reporter , ASU Now

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