Sep 22, 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, “Environmental Dispossession, Land, and the Environment” 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 the voices of Indigenous scholars in the areas of Indigenous health, food sovereignty, and the social determinants of health. This episode explores the complicated nature of Indigenous connections to land, and how that impacts Indigenous food systems. The guests in the episode explore ideas of environmental dispossession, traditional Indigenous food practices, and environmental stewardship.
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
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
Tait Neufeld, H. And C.A.M., Richmond, Southwest Ontario Aboriginal Health Access Centre. 2017. Impacts of Place and Social Spaces on Traditional Food Systems in Southwestern Ontario. International Journal of Indigenous Health 12(1):93.
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Glossary of Terms
In Marxist thought, the separation of humans from meaningful engagement with their lifeworlds, specifically through wage labour.
“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."
The Coming Faces/ Seven Generations
The Coming Faces is a metaphor for future generations that will need food, water, and land (Horn-Miller – this episode). It is a way of acting with future generations in mind and aligns with the Anishnabek principle of the Seven Generations (Steckley – this episode).
Land owned by the provincial government.
An act of physical and spiritual removal of people from land, an act of colonization.
This describes the loss of land and physical displacement that has resulted in Indigenous populations experiencing trauma, poverty, health and other social problems.
“The responsible use and protection of the natural environment through conservation and sustainable practices to enhance ecosystem resilience and human well-being"
"Food Sovereignty is 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."
“Term by Indigenous scholar Glen Coulthard to describe Indigenous peoples’ relationships to land and place, and the solidarity that emerges from this."
A policy enacted by the federal government in 1876 which led to the elimination of any Indigenous self-government, mandated attendance in residential schools, banned Indigenous spiritual and cultural activities, removal of land, and other discriminatory actions.
“a movement that has existed for generations with a long legacy of organizing and sacrifice to get Indigenous Lands back into Indigenous hands.”
The constellation of teachings and ethical guidelines for living: for hunting, family and ceremonial life, and so on.
residential schools operated in Canada between the 1870s and
1990s, with the goal of assimilating Indigenous people into settler
society. These were
ran by the
Canadian government and various churches. Over 150,000 Indigenous
people are estimated to have attended these institutions.
Indigenous children were separated from their families, forbidden
to speak their traditional languages, and many suffered extreme
physical, mental, spiritual, emotional and sexual abuse, neglect, and
Unlike reconciliation, Indigenous resurgence focuses less on reconciliation with settlers, and centres around Indigenous nations determining how Indigenous rights, recognition, and relationships with other peoples will be respected.
Corn, beans and squash: three crops grown in symbiotic relationship in some Indigenous communities. In Haudenosaunee storytelling, the Three Sisters sprouted from the body of Sky Woman’s daughter.
What is land?
What are some
of the different ways
described relating to land and land ownership? Why is the ‘family
cottage’ a delicate conversation in
In what ways
do the concepts of Coming Faces and the Three Sisters speak to
How does ‘land
dispossession’ differ from ‘environmental
history and the ongoing colonization faced by Indigenous people
affect the food system?
How could the
return of land through the Land Back movement positively
access to traditional foods and food
Many of the students in this episode expressed challenges with discussing the ideas of stolen land and the Land Back movement with their families. If you were going to discuss this with your family, what language and ideas would you use?