Indigenous Food Sovereignty Requires Diversity and Radical Natural Resource Management

Date and Time: 
Thursday, 11 May, 2017 - 16:00
, Jane - Cornell University

Many indigenous communities are returning to traditional foods and practices, referred to as Food Sovereignty, to support values and practices that encourage human and environmental sustainability. Traditional Haudenosaunee foodways provide a model to implement food sovereignty in contemporary indigenous communities. The Haudenosaunee relied on many plant and animal species, harvested at multiple times and places in the landscape. Their food plants included wild and cultivated species, trees, shrubs, grasses, and herbs, and includied annual and perennial plants. This diversity of plants stabilized the ecosystem, while also supporting peoples’ health. The food system was also grounded in a radically different relationship between people and their natural environment. Haudenosaunee view all parts of the natural world as kin, members of an extended family. Compared to western agriculture, this worldview led to profoundly different agricultural practices, particularly in annual crop production. This paper explores these issues and their relationships to Food Sovereignty.