Indigenous Food Systems

Last night I imagined what it would be like to live in a time without the international food trade. Limited spices, no chocolate, no exotic fruit! I started looking around for information about what foods are indigenous to the island and found some interesting stuff. Here is a really awesome and short report by the Vancouver Island Community Research Alliance on the importance of valuing indigenous food systems: Although the whole report is awesome as it leads you through some details of the history and traditions of First Peoples from pre to post European contact, I would suggest checking out pages 19-23 which give a summary of the report and suggests ways to re-learn traditional practices of food use and stewardship on Vancouver Island.

If you are interested in supporting this cause, check out Feasting for Change, a program designed to enhance food sovereignty among the Aboriginal Communities of South Vancouver Island through traditional, local “feasting.”
A picture of putting the pit together from
Here four key principles that guide the present day food sovereignty movement in Indigenous communities from their website:
  1. Sacred or divine sovereignty – Food is a gift from the Creator; in this respect the right to food is sacred and cannot be constrained or recalled by colonial laws, policies and institutions. Indigenous food sovereignty is fundamentally achieved by upholding our sacred responsibility to nurture healthy, interdependent relationships with the land, plants and animals that provide us with our food.
  2. Participatory – IFS is fundamentally based on “action”, or the day to day practice of maintaining cultural harvesting strategies. To maintain Indigenous food sovereignty as a living reality for both present and future generations, continued participation in cultural harvesting strategies at all of the individual, family, community and regional levels is key.
  3. 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 in industrialized economies.
  4. Policy – IFS attempts to reconcile Indigenous food and cultural values with colonial laws and policies and mainstream economic activities. IFS thereby provides a restorative framework for policy reform in forestry, fisheries, rangeland, environmental conservation, health, agriculture, and rural and community development.

One response to “Indigenous Food Systems

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I’m focusing on T’Souke Nation food and energy systems for a project in school and now will try to incorporate Feasting for change also!

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