Centuries of colonization and other factors have disrupted indigenous communities’ ability to control their own food systems. This volume explores the meaning and importance of food sovereignty for Native peoples in the United States, and asks whether and how it might be achieved and sustained.
Unprecedented in its focus and scope, this collection addresses nearly every aspect of indigenous food sovereignty, from revitalizing ancestral gardens and traditional ways of hunting, gathering, and seed saving to the difficult realities of racism, treaty abrogation, tribal sociopolitical factionalism, and the entrenched beliefs that processed foods are superior to traditional tribal fare. The contributors include scholar-activists in the fields of ethnobotany, history, anthropology, nutrition, insect ecology, biology, marine environmentalism, and federal Indian law, as well as indigenous seed savers and keepers, cooks, farmers, spearfishers, and community activists. After identifying the challenges involved in revitalizing and maintaining traditional food systems, these writers offer advice and encouragement to those concerned about tribal health, environmental destruction, loss of species habitat, and governmental food control.
“Return and recovery is very much at the heart of this volume. Indigenous food sovereignty argues for rooted and collective continuance. More than about development and conservation—or resilience even—it is about sacredness and intimacy, health and sovereignty, food and identity; and it comes from a place deep within.”—Virginia D. Nazarea, author of Heirloom Seeds and Their Keepers: Marginality and Memory in the Conservation of Biological Diversity
“The collective wisdom of Turtle Island’s indigenous peoples offered in Indigenous Food Sovereignty charts a course for decolonization and liberation—and a vision for a better food system and a just society.”—Eric Holt-Giménez, author of A Foodie’s Guide to Capitalism
“This thoughtfully curated collection of essays gives food scholars a vital window on the gorgeous and fierce resilience of indigenous food systems and the activists who work to preserve them against steep odds. It will shape the way we think about indigenous food systems for years to come.”—Amy Trauger, author of We Want to Live: Making Political Space for Food Sovereignty
“Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States is a detailed text that effectively conveys hope for the future of Indigenous communities while criticizing colonial practices emphasizing that there are serious repercussions for abandoning tradition, and there is beneficial power in reclaiming Indigenous authority over food and environmental practices.”— Transmotion
“Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States brings together diverse perspectives across many Native American tribes, which are voiced by Native American leaders and scholars…This is a foundational book that we need to recognize and award.”—Economy Botany
“This edited volume provides an important overview of the rapidly growing body of scholarship on Indigenous food sovereignty that remains underacknowledged by the field of food studies.”— Native American and Indigenous Studies Journal
“In Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments and Regaining Health, Devon Mihesuah and Elizabeth Hoover curate an exceptional array of essays written by Indigenous scholars, activists, and chefs involved in the Indigenous food movement. Collectively, they articulate their understanding of food sovereignty and its potential for strengthening Indigenous food traditions and restoring health and wellness in Indigenous communities. Encompassing U.S. geographical regions ranging from Alaska, Hawaii, the Southwest, Southeast, Northwest, Great Plains, and California, the writers take readers on an impressive culinary journey as the essays address important topics such as defining and enacting food sovereignty, restoring community health and wellness by strengthening traditional ecological knowledge, restoring seed banks, revitalizing traditional ecosystems, and finding solutions to the issue of environmental degradation brought on by climate change. This book is a valuable resource and teaching tool for educators, complete with study guide questions for each chapter at the end of the book.”—New Mexico Historical Review
“Sovereignty is understood as the right to govern oneself. Yet is this done politically, geographically, or socially? Academics and activists in Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States: Restoring Cultural Knowledge, Protecting Environments, and Regaining Health argue one cannot be truly sovereign if they are unable to feed themselves. The book contributes a critical element to Native American studies by adding diet to scholarly conversations on Indigenous adaptations to settler colonialism. More importantly, the book challenges readers to consider where their food comes from the next time they eat.”—Chronicles of Oklahoma