November 9 marked the Native Health Matters conference in Tahlequah. The event was centered around hemp and educating growers, learning about current research, processing hemp, and cleaning up toxic land. Around 100 attendees from across the country came to participate in the event.
Native Health Matters is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization from Stilwell and serves as an incubator for community issues for Native American communities, minorities, and anyone else interested.
“As Native Americans, we’re one of the first environmentalists and we’re the first to have agronomic hemp study backed by a U.S. university, the University of Arkansas,” Timothy Houseberg, vice president of the NHM, told the press. “The study wasn’t for medicine or production, but a fight of mediation, about detoxifying the soul. We have the largest Superfund site on our land around Miami-Tar Creek and Sequoyah Fuels. Our work is to clean up the soil, not to make money.”
The NHM recently partnered with the University of Arkansas to research the plant for this purpose. Little research has been done on the potential for the plant in phytoremediation. The study is looking to use hemp to detoxify soil and re-nourish it so it can be used for other farming efforts.
“Utilizing the industrial hemp technology developed during our research study, we can return lands to a healthy and productive condition,” said Houseberg. “Not only are hemp-derived products scientifically proven to be beneficial to humans, but preliminary data through this research study shows how hemp can remove, stabilize, and/or destroy contaminants in the soil and groundwater, thereby contributing to the sustainability of the earth.”
The convention housed a number of speakers on these topics and ended with a panel discussion to help answer questions the attendees had.