June 21st is Indigenous People’s Day.
At the Ottawa Food Bank, we talk a lot about food security, but on this day, we’d like to amplify Indigenous voices on the topic of Indigenous Food Sovereignty. Here are the four pillars of Indigenous Food Sovereignty (IFS) according to the Indigenous Food Systems Network.
1. Food is Sacred
“The right to food is sacred and cannot be constrained by colonial laws, policies and institutions. Indigenous food sovereignty is achieved by upholding our sacred responsibility to nurture healthy, interdependent relationships with the land, plants and animals that provide us with our food.”
2. Food is Participatory
“Indigenous Food Sovereignty is fundamentally based on “action”, or the day to day practice of maintaining cultural harvesting strategies. Continued participation in cultural harvesting strategies at all of the individual, family, community and regional levels is key.”
3. Food is a tool for Self-Determination
“The ability to respond to our own needs for healthy, culturally adapted Indigenous foods. The ability to make decisions over the amount and quality of food we hunt, fish, gather, grow and eat. Freedom from dependence on grocery stores or corporately controlled food production, distribution and consumption.”
4. Food and Policy
“Indigenous Food Sovereignty attempts to reconcile Indigenous food and cultural values with colonial laws and policies. It provides a restorative framework for policy reform in forestry, fisheries, rangeland, environmental conservation, health, agriculture, and rural and community development.”