We begin this piece by acknowledging that we currently stand, live, and learn on the unceded territory of the Ute, Cheyenne, and Arapaho peoples, who have called this land home from time immemorial. We also recognize the 48 contemporary tribal nations that are historically tied to the lands that make up the state of Colorado. We offer our sincerest gratitude to those who have stewarded this land, both past and present.
November is Indigenous Peoples Heritage Month, and though there are many ways to make sense of the word “indigenous,” one element that endures across all definitions is a connection to land, to place. The United Nations notes that across the world, Indigenous peoples have a special relationship to their ancestral lands. In fact, land is fundamental to survival for Indigenous cultures.
As land-based cultures, Indigenous peoples of North America (of which there are over 500 federally recognized tribes in the US alone) knew themselves and the world through the context of the lands on which they foraged, hunted, farmed, tended, and stewarded. Indigenous cultures before colonization were marked by a reciprocal relationship with land and everything living on it. These relationships were disrupted by genocide, much of which targeted traditional food sources. The results of this violent and intentional disruption have been grave and widespread. Today, Indigenous communities experience some of the highest rates of diabetes, addiction, suicide, and food deserts in the nation.
Disconnection from food and land is at the root of these issues. It stands to reason, then, that connection is part of the solution. Food sovereignty is defined as “the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems” (Declaration of Nyéléni, Mali, 2007). In spite of ongoing struggles for sovereignty and survival for Indigenous nations, there are many uplifting food and health movements happening within tribal communities--through advocacy, leadership development, language and traditional knowledge reclamation.
To learn more about the incredible food sovereignty work taking place in Native communities, we invite you to view the film Gather (available on Kanopy and Netflix), and join us this coming Wednesday, November 10th at 5:30 pm in conversation with cast members and local Indigenous experts.
This panel will take place on Zoom. Please click here to attend. If you'd like to join by phone, please dial 1-669-900-9128 and enter this Meeting ID: 882 6279 6976.
-by Amelia Eckles and Heidi
There were problems with the 11/10/21 Zoom panel discussion for "Gather". Not everyone in the panel could be heard, and a number of people in the audience dropped out because of the problems.
Thank you for your feedback. Some of our panelists were located in remote areas with limited service, which can cause issues with connectivity. Thank you for taking the time to join us, and we hope you enjoyed the film and discussion with the other panelists.