Sep 15, 2023
Hosted by: Dr. Marylynn Steckley
Produced in collaboration with: Dr. Sonia Wesche, Victoria Marchand & Dr. Josh Steckley
In this episode of Handpicked: Stories from the Field, we present an episode of the Indigenous Health and Food Systems Podcast called, “What are Indigenous Foods?” This podcast is hosted by Dr. Marylynn Steckley from Carleton University and is produced in collaboration with Dr. Sonia Wesche and Victoria Marchand from the University of Ottawa and Dr. Josh Steckley from the University of Toronto, Scarborough. The Indigenous Health and Food Systems Podcast aims to elevate Indigenous scholars' voices in Indigenous health, food sovereignty, and the social determinants of health. This particular episode focuses on what Indigenous food are, and how there are many complex answers to that question because of the impacts of colonization.
Producer: Charlie Spring
Sound Design & Editing: Laine Young & Narayan Subramoniam
Support & Funding
Funding for the Indigenous Health & Food Systems Podcast episode was provided to M. Steckley and S. Wesche by a Shared Online Projects Initiative grant through a partnership between the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
Dr. Josh Steckley was supported by the Sustainable Food and Farming Futures Cluster at the University of Toronto, Scarborough
ltamirano-Jiménez, I., and N. Kermoal. (2016). Introduction: Indigenous Women and Knowledge. In Living on the Land: Indigenous Women’s Understandings of Place, Kermoal & Altamirano-Jiménez (eds.) p. 3-18. AU Press: Edmonton, Alberta.
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Glossary of Terms
“Bannock has meant many things to many Indigenous people throughout history, from pre-contact to the fur trade to present times. Before contact, Indigenous people made their own types of bannock and breads using camas bulbs, lichen, moss, cattails, roasted acorns and other plants and roots that were Indigenous to their traditional territories. After contact, Indigenous people began to use wheat and oat flour brought over by the Scottish during the fur trade. Flour was a non-Indigenous food but soon became the staple ingredient in bannock, and in the lives of Indigenous people.”
“Colonialism has been defined as systems and practices that ‘seek to impose the will of one people on another and to use the resources of the imposed people for the benefit of the imposer’ (Assante, 2006). Colonialism can operate within political, sociological, cultural values and systems of a place even after occupation by colonizers has ended. Colonization is defined as the act of political, physical and intellectual occupation of space by the (often forceful) displacement of Indigenous populations, and gives rise to settler-colonialism, colonial and neo-colonial relations, and coloniality.”
Dish with One Spoon Wampum Belt
A symbol and reminder of covenants between the 5 Nations of the Haudenosaunee and the Dutch Government that guided later treaty-building and envisaged a relationship of reciprocity and sharing (that all people sharing a territory should leave enough for others), a promise that many Indigenous people feel was broken many times.
A term to describe peoples’ cultural, social and economic food practices, habits and desires (Alkon et al.)
The story of how Sky Woman fell from Skyworld to start life on Turtle Island, passed down and told by different Iroquoian-speaking people to describe the creation of human life on earth but also telling aspects of the Original Instructions guiding relations between humans and the natural world (Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass).
1. In what ways might Indigenous people have a complicated relationship with bannock? Is ‘authenticity’ a useful term for thinking about food heritage and tradition?
2. What does Kahente Horn-Miller mean by “food is relational”?
3. What visuals or emotions come up for you when hearing the story of ‘Sky Woman’? How does this story compare to other human origin stories- what are the implications for the way we think about food and food systems?
4. How do we make sense of, respect, and value traditional Indigenous diets and contemporary foodways today? How do we bring together understanding, and respect, and desire to keep alive traditions and ancestral foods in the contemporary post-colonial world?
5. How does the term ‘foodways’ differ from ‘food systems’ in communicating peoples’ relationship with food?