Monday, October 14, 2013

Food Sovereignty and Native American Food Systems

While the local food movement is well recognized in the media and popular culture, a local food/food sovereignty movement has been gaining strength among native tribes in the U.S. without gaining much outside attention.  That is changing.

Pati Martinson and Terrie Bad Hand, Directors of the Taos County Development Corp. (TCEDC) have been working toward a Native American Food Alliance since 2008. That alliance is now a reality. The first meeting was held at the recent First Nations LEAD conference at Mystic Lake Casino and Hotel, Prior Lake, Minnesota. The following Call to Action was adopted.

Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance 
Call to Action 
Restoring Native food systems is an immediate and fundamental need for the continued survival and physical and spiritual wellbeing of Native peoples and our Mother Earth – now and into the future. The costs of doing nothing – and the potential benefits of action – are massive. The Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) is dedicated to restoring the Indigenous food systems that support Indigenous self-determination, wellness, cultures, values, communities, economies, languages, families, and rebuild relationships with the land, water, plants and animals that sustain us. NAFSA brings people, communities (rural, remote and urban), organizations and Tribal governments together to share, promote and support best practices and policies that enhance dynamic Native food systems that promote holistic wellness, sustainable economic development, education, reestablished trade routes, stewardship of land and water resources, peer-to-peer mentoring, and multigenerational empowerment. NAFSA works to put the farmers, wildcrafters, fishers, hunters, ranchers and eaters at the center of decision-making on policies, strategies and natural resource management. We commit to take collective and individual action to address food sovereignty, and to build the necessary understanding and awareness among our Peoples, Nations, leaders and policy-makers, as well as our youth and coming generations, to make it a continuing reality.
The issue of Food Sovereignty from a tribal perspective was recently the subject of an interview with A'dae Romero (Cochiti Pueblo/Kiowa) on the radio show, What's for Dinner with Susan Youmnas.  A'dae is currently a candidate in the LL.M. Program in Agricultural & Food Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law. She works with the Indigenous Food & Agriculture Initiative at the Law School under the guidance of Janie Hipp (Chickasaw), the former Senior Advisor for Tribal Relations to USDA Secretary Vilsack, and now the Director of the Initiative. A'dae founded and serves as the Executive Director of Cochiti Youth Experience, Inc., a non-profit organization formed to create opportunities for Cochiti youth to engage in traditional Pueblo farming as a means to create a healthy, sustainable, and viable community.

Food, agriculture and the issue of food sovereignty represent rising movements in Indian Country. Stay tuned -


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