On November 19th, I had the opportunity to attend Indigethanx, an annual event put on by the American Indian Resource Center to teach about and celebrate Native foodways and the reclamation of food sovereignty by Indigenous communities. After a welcome honoring the Four Directions and a song for generations of grandmothers, UCSC alumna and San Francisco State University professor Melissa Nelson and California State University professor Dr. Enrique Salmón each gave a presentation regarding Native food justice issues as well as connection to food.
Main themes included the epidemic of nutrition-based health afflictions in Native communities, particularly Type II Diabetes caused by lack of access to fresh and traditional foods due to food deserts; the cultural role of food such as strawberries and corns in creation stories, ceremonies, nutrition and culture in general; eating traditional food as a way to reclaim an identity and oppose harmful agricultural practices; and the inherent connection between biodiversity and cultural diversity.
The event was an amazing experience full of opportunities to get educated and get involved with Native food sovereignty movements. I appreciate all of the resources (books, movies, quotes, opportunities, and more) provided through each presentation and hope to learn more and stay updated on ways to get involved. There are a number of tribes and nations using traditional growing techniques in community supported agriculture to provide food to children and other community members, which I particularly wish to continue to research.
Here are notes from the event.