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Handpicked: Stories from the Field

Presented by the Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems, Handpicked: Stories from the Field is a podcast series that showcases research that drives positive change in our food systems—ways we produce, gather, eat, understand and dispose of our food. Produced and hosted by Amanda Di Battista and Laine Young, the series presents compelling, real-life stories of food practitioners, such as farmers, policymakers and activists. Episodes follow researchers and community partners in their efforts to make their food systems more economically, environmentally and socially sustainable.

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.


Co-Producers & Hosts: Laine Young & Amanda Di Battista

Producer: Charlie Spring

Sound Design & Editing: Laine Young & Narayan Subramoniam



Dr. Kahente Horn-Miller


Dr. Hannah Tait Neufeld

Ida Harkness

Emily Charman

Chanel Best

Brette Thomson

Havailah Arnold


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

Wilfrid Laurier University

The Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

Balsillie School for International Affairs


Music Credits

Keenan Reimer-Watts

Keith Whiteduck



Moving Beyond Acknowledgments- LSPIRG
Whose Land
Laurier Centre for Sustainable Food Systems

Indigenous Food Systems and Food Sovereignty Podcast 

Telling Our Twisted Stories Podcast- BANNOCK


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.

Unreserved with Falen Johnson (2020). How Indigenous Leaders Are Changing the Future of Food


Tennant, Zoe Heaps (2020). Does Bannock Have a Place in Indigenous Cuisine?


CBC News (2015) Feast Cafe Bistro takes eating local to the next level.



Connect with Us:


Twitter/X: @Handpickedpodc

Facebook: Handpicked Podcast


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.)



Mohawk language.


Sky Woman

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).

Discussion Questions

 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?