NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION
The Boreal Garden Project is proud to be part of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Food Strategy. Our pilot project in North Caribou Lake First Nation was funded by Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN). We are one small part of NAN’s 6 key pillars for food sovereignty in their First Nation communities. We share and respect NAN’S call to action:
1. Food produced and harvested within individual communities is food that does not have to be purchased in the market based system. Local food production offers economic development opportunities through alternative marketing structures. Hunting, fishing, trapping, berry picking, plant harvesting, and gardening all play a role in primary food production.
Community based actions such as gardens, hunter supports, collective harvests, and community freezers as well as the inclusion of past, present, and future areas for local production in land use planning initiatives both on reserve and in traditional territories offers opportunities for support of local food production as well as increased opportunities for learning through hands-on skill building, inclusion of support in local food production, recognizing the knowledge holders within NAN territory, and identifying “community champions.”
2.Our people shared and carried out many practices that kept our children and families strong and thriving. Wisdom and knowledge on preparing our foods, using our medicines was passed from one generation to the next. We know that we needed to heal ourselves and keep our bodies and minds nourished. We need to reclaim this knowledge and share it with our young people and understand why the food we are eating today from grocery stores is making us sick.
Community based actions such as community kitchens, cooking classes, recipe sharing, and the development of Nishnawbe Aski Nation specific nutrition education materials can all aid in transitioning supporting nutrition practices.
MORE ABOUT NAN:
Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) is working with its First Nation communities to restore locally produced food that is integral to resilient ecosystems and development of sustainable economies. NAN has been working to address the growing disparity between their communities and the rest of Canada in terms of access to affordable, nutritious food, and the direct impact on positive health outcomes. Diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases continue to rise to epidemic proportions. Consumption of foods high in fat, salt and sugar is a main contributor to the current public health crisis.
In 2011, NAN Chiefs in Assembly endorsed the NAN Food Strategy focusing on 6 key pillars to reclaim our right to food self-determination in NAN territory:
The right to food is sacred and cannot be defined by colonial laws, policies and institutions. Our Indigenous understanding of the land, animals, plants and birds establishes our sacred responsibility inherent in the laws of creator, laws of the land and laws of the people.