Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Food Sovereignty is the human right of all peoples and nations to grow food in ways that are culturally, ecologically and economically appropriate for them.

The idea of food sovereignty as it applies to Western cultures, is one best illustrated through the many recurring topics covered here on Deconstructing Dinner: control of resources, control of agricultural practices, control of production/distribution/retail, and the inability for Canadian communities to viably reclaim and create food systems that better serve the needs of the people within those communities.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty is a much different concept, and as broadcasts of Deconstructing Dinner often explore the food systems of the Western world, and how they impact health, environment and people, there is much to learn from the foodways of North America’s indigenous people. The modern food system of today could not have been made possible without the destructive forces of colonialism, and its impact on the food supply of this continent’s earliest inhabitants. This destruction continues today.

Through the eyes of indigenous food sovereignty, this broadcast will look to better understand the ways in which the modern food system has disengaged all peoples from our land.


Nicole Manuel – Neskonlith Indian ReserveSecwepemc Nation (Chase, BC) – Nicole spoke to an audience in October 2006 at the Bridging Borders Toward Food Security Conference held in Vancouver, British Columbia. Nicole was at the forefront of the demonstrations that took place in 2001 on the land that is now Sun Peaks Resort north of Kamloops, British Columbia. The land was an important location upon which the Secwepemc Nation gathered and hunted their traditional foods.
Recorded by Deconstructing Dinner

Paul Smith – Oneida Nation/Heifer InternationalIndian Nations Program (Wisconsin) – Although their original homelands were in the area of New York, the Oneida Nation is scattered today in several parts of North America (Wisconsin, New York, and Canada). The Oneida Indian Reservation in Wisconsin (a few miles north of Appleton and southwest of Green Bay) is where many members of the Oneida Nation reside. Paul spoke to an audience at the 2006 Bridging Borders Toward Food Security Conference in Vancouver.
Recorded by Deconstructing Dinner

Nancy Turner – Professor of Ethnobotany, School of Environmental StudiesUniveristy of Victoria (Victoria, BC) – While working on her thesis, Dr. Turner collaborated with Saanich First Nations elders to learn about the significance of plants to their culture. Her post-graduate work concentrated on plant classification systems among the Haida, Nuxalk (Bella Coola) and Stl`atl`imx (Lillooet) people. Her major research contributions have been in demonstrating the pivotal role of plant resources in past and contemporary aboriginal cultures and languages, as an integral component of traditional knowledge systems, and how traditional management of plant resources has shaped the landscapes and habitats of western Canada. Dr. Turner spoke to an audience in February 2007, as part of a lecutre series titled “Acceptable Genes? Religion, Culture and the Genetically Modified (GM) Foods Debate” Her lecture was titled “Why Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Beliefs Matter in the Debate on GM Foods“.
Recorded by Deconstructing Dinner correspondent Andrea Langlois

Musical Selection (name/title/album/label)
Theme/Soundclip – Adham Shaikh, Infusion, Fusion, Sonic Turtle (CDN)