National Indigenous Peoples Day 2023

Posted on Friday, 16 June 2023 under Stories

Over the course of the week surrounding National Indigenous Peoples Day 2023, we will be sharing numerous organizations, initiatives, and Indigenous Peoples doing great work in our local food systems. We will share resources, action items, and stories celebrating the crucial role of Indigenous Peoples leading food systems work.

We have put together this blog post to consolidate this information and provide a permanent spot to link resources, information and action items to live. Please revisit this list often and support these initiatives.

Written by Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council

Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council proudly walks alongside their 10 Member Nations on their journey towards self-determination and reclamation of culture. They provide support to Member Nations by facilitating programs and services that positively impact Indigenous Peoples. These programs include services in a variety of areas, including emergency management, comprehensive community planning, housing and infrastructure management, and food security and food sovereignty.

The Member Nations, located on Vancouver Island and the BC Coast, include Tsawwassen First Nation, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Tla’amin Nation, Klahoose First Nation, K’ómoks First Nation, Homalco First Nation, Snaw-naw-as First Nation, Stz’uminus First Nation, Malahat Nation, and T’sou-ke First Nation.

Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council’s Community Food Network emerged at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic when many Member Nation communities experienced interruptions and restrictions affecting their food supply and access. F. r many Indigenous communities, food insecurity and well-being-related inequalities and vulnerabilities were exacerbated and exposed by the pandemic, but by no means is food insecurity a new experience for Indigenous people.

As Dr. Charlotte Cote, author of A Drum in One Hand, A Sockeye in the Other, notes, “Indigenous peoples across the globe have had their food systems impacted by colonization, the ongoing impacts of settler colonialism, residential schools, environmental destruction, socioeconomic marginalization, and the West imposing a diet that is so far removed from their traditional diets.” From an Indigenous perspective, food security is food sovereignty, and the Community Food Network aims to support Member Nations in working towards rebuilding sovereign food systems. Communities want to grow food, harvest food on the land and from the sea, know what’s happening on their land and in the ocean, know what is threatening their rights, and have control over how they access their foods.
The Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council Community Food Network originally started as a virtual space for Indigenous staff working in food-related roles to come together to share and develop their ideas, knowledge, and skills on a variety of topics, brainstorm through challenges, share successes and resources, and encourage and uplift one another. After the pandemic, they began holding in-person workshops hosted in communities and are now organizing ‘field trips’ to get to know each other’s’ territories, share best practices, and support a collaborative vision for food security.

In addition, the Food Network provides support to communities through fund sourcing and assistance with

  • grant writing,
  • opportunities to document traditional knowledge (i.e. filming, Nation-to-Nation sharing)
  • monthly resource newsletters (i.e. external workshops, training, funding, news articles, etc.)
  • hands-on in-community support
  • food-related role development and training
  • partnership awareness and facilitation
  • in-community workshop facilitation
  • develop toolkits and resource databases
  • support in the ongoing development
  • implementation and operation of food security and food sovereignty initiatives within our member Nations

Some highlights include:

  • Bi-monthly meetings covering a variety of food-related topics, in the form of casual conversations among members, guest speakers (e.g. First Nations Food Systems
  • Project, Tim Fryatt from LifeCycles Project Society, Food self-sufficiency program manager from Kanaka Bar Indian Band, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, etc.), film or series screenings (Red Chef Revival, Gather, NmTC created films, member Nation films, etc.), sharing from community champions

Various webinars:

  • Beginner Medicine Making webinar with Dr. Jeanne Paul
  • Beginner Seed Saving webinar with Tiffany Gee
  • Who’s Eating My Veggies: Garden Pests webinar with Azeena Hamir from Amara FarmHands-on workshops and training opportunities:
  • Three-part Fruit Tree & Orchard care course with Tim Fryatt at LifeCycles Project, including a hands-on learning day hosted at Malahat Nation’s community garden
    Hands-on compost workshop with Compost Education Centre hosted at Malahat Nation’s community garden
  • In-community Food Safe training
  • In-community Firearms Safety training
  • 5-part video tutorial series on fruit tree and orchard care filmed by Indigenous-owned Imagination FX film company, with teachings from Tim Fryatt from LifeCycles Project Society

Several digital storytelling projects:

  • Food Sustainability with Ken Thomas of Penelakut Tribe: Traditional Teachings film (filmed by Imagination FX)
  • Food Sustainability with Ken Thomas of Penelakut Tribe: Deer Skinning & Traditional Teachings film (filmed by Imagination FX)
  • Our Kitchen Table film featuring Snaw-naw-as clams beds, tides and seasonal teachings (filmed by Imagination FX)
  • Homalco: Let’s Chat About our Gardens film featuring the community’s vibrant gardens and gardeners (filmed by Imagination FX)
  • The provision of food processing equipment to several of our member Nations to support in building capacity for preserving grown, harvested and hunted foods in the community (e.g. vacuum sealers, pressure cookers and other canning equipment, kitchen equipment)
  • Working with UBC students from the Land and Food Systems Program to develop an implementation strategy for an NmTC CFN seed library.

Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council Community Food Network Seed Library
In addition to maintaining and increasing traditional food practices, many of member Nations have expressed interest in gardening and farming. A few of member Nations have existing community gardens, while others are in the process of developing them. One initiative to support our member Nations with their community garden goals is to develop a seed library. The seed library would be a place for member Nations to access quality seeds, increase seed sovereignty, learn about seed saving and traditional plant cultivation techniques, and share seeds and knowledge amongst each other.

Calls-to-Action

  1. For funders: fund our projects!
  2. Subscribe to our YouTube channel: NmTC Community Food Network – YouTube
  3. Learn more about our member Nations and the work they are doing to build and rebuild their sovereign food systems:
    Home Page – Homalco First Nation
    Tsleil-Waututh Nation – People of the Inlet (twnation.ca)
    Home – Tsawwassen First Nation
    HOME | KlahooseFirstNation
    Home – K’ómoks First Nation (komoks.ca)
    Nanoose First Nation — Home (snawnawas.org)
    Home – Stz’uminus First Nation (stzuminus.com)
    Malahat Nation – We are the Malahat for which this region is named. Malahat Nation is a proud Coast Salish Indigenous community and one of the five W̱SÁNEĆ (Saanich) Nations. We are situated between Victoria and Mill Bay, British Columbia, Canada with two reserve lands located on the western shore of Saanich Inlet nestled beneath Malahat Mountain, one of the most sacred sites on southern Vancouver Island.
    Welcome to T’Sou-ke Nation | T’Sou-ke Nation (tsoukenation.com)
    https://www.tlaaminnation.com
  4. Get educated about Indigenous food sovereignty:
    Read A Drum in One Hand, A Sockeye in the Other by Dr. Charlotte Cote
    Get familiar with the work of the Indigenous Food Systems Network: Indigenous Food Sovereignty | Indigenous Food Systems Network
    Learn about the work of other organizations leading the way for Indigenous food sovereignty, for example, Tea Creek Farm: About Us — Tea Creek Training and Employment

Photos by Naut’sa mawt Tribal Council

Tiffany is a Secwépemc/séme7 land and seed steward, language learner, Indigenous researcher, and food sovereignty advocate. Her passion for feeding people and firm belief in the right to healthy, culturally-appropriate foods for all, drives her work. She is passionate about the uncomfortable work in dismantling structural racism within institutions and conducting experimental plant breeding projects to adapt nutrient-dense cultivars to our changing climate as a grateful guest in Treaty 8 Territory.

Tiffany has served as a volunteer Advisory Council member with the Community Seed Network, former Member at Large and Chair for SeedChange and former Board Member at Regeneration Canada. She participated in the Equity and Inclusion Advisory Committee for Farmers for Climate Solutions and is a Council member (Mountain Forests Biome), for Indigenous Climate Action’s Indigenous-led decolonizing climate policy Advisory Council. She is part of the Distinction-Based Tools for Food-Related Wellness advisory group being facilitated by Alderhill Planning and is an active participant in the newly-formed National Native Seed Strategy organized by the Canadian Wildlife Federation. As part of her active research, Tiffany is the Indigenous Lead in several projects with the Federal Government (AAFC), including a cross-colonial border Living Lab (Peace Region Living Lab).

In some of her former emergency management ‘day jobs’, Tiffany engaged with stakeholders, partners, and rural residents to help present education around wildfire prevention, mitigation and cultural burning, as well as encourage autonomy for land stewardship within Indigenous communities. Her hope is to continue being a ‘Weaver’, advocating to create better access to resources and increase our collective seed and food security and sovereignty and preparedness in the face of climate chaos.

Check out the awesome projects Tiffany is currently involved in!

Women Who Dig – Tiffany is featured in this exciting documentary! The Women Who Dig documentary follows the stories of five remarkable women farmers in Western Canada who are working tirelessly in their communities to build food security and sovereignty through sustainable farming practices, while combating climate change and social injustice.

The impact of women’s work is often an untold story, particularly in farming. Edmonton-based filmmaker, Anna Kuelken, is leading this project in collaboration with Canadian writer, Trina Moyles, whose book “Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World” (2018, University of Regina Press) inspired this adaptation.

Distinction-Based Tools for Food-Related Wellness – Tiffany sits on the Indigenous Food-related Wellness Advisory (IFWA), along with other amazing Indigenous People, to provide guidance for the duration of the project.

Potato Research Project – Fourth Sister Farm, along with Tea Creek Farm and Amisk Farm, is working to include historical context of the cultural significance of a couple of varieties of potatoes that were/ARE being stewarded by Indigenous communities in so-called BC. While this project is not currently fully funded, they are moving ahead with research to ensure soil data is actively being collected.

Read more about the Potato Research Project

Tiffany is involved in so many important projects. Be sure to follow along and support her work as it progresses.

Support Tiffany’s work!

Follow Tiffany on Instagram and Facebook

Provide monetary support! Tiffany accepts donations for some of her voluntary or partially funded projects. These contributions help greatly to sustain this important work. Please connect with her at 4thsisterfarm@gmail.com to contribute!

📸 by Nlakapamux photographer, Shelanne Justice

https://www.shelannejusticephotography.com/

PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation is a W̱SÁNEĆ community-based non-profit organization. PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ means “Blossoming Place” in SENĆOŦEN, the language of the W̱SÁNEĆ peoples.

They provide participatory education opportunities about traditional and healthy food systems to contribute to the restoration and revitalization of native ecosystems in the W̱SÁNEĆ homelands and to promote food security and indigenous food sovereignty in the W̱SÁNEĆ community and beyond.

At PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱, they offer:

Numerous resources including Native Plant Resources, Language Resources, and Teacher Resources.

Interested in getting involved? PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ has several ways you can support them and collaborate!

First, be sure to read their Protocols for Engagement, an important document “to support reciprocal, relevant, respectful and educational collaborations between PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ and individuals or organizations outside the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations community.”

Volunteer with PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱

Donate to the PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation

Photo by PEPÁḴEṈ HÁUTW̱ Foundation

Lesley Assu is of the Haida Nation and the owner and operator of Standing Spruce Farm and Apothecary on the traditional territory of the We Wai Kai First Nation and is part of the traditional harvesting grounds of the Laichwiltach people. She is a farmer and herbalist, growing and raising food for their community and offer products through apothecary and medicinal business.

Standing Spruce Farm & Apothecary operates on a zero-waste policy. They make sure to use all the parts of the animals they raise and find uses for all the food they grow. Lesley approaches farming, creating medicinals, and doing business with incredible care and attention. Whether it is the bones, fat, or skins of the cows they raise, it is important to her that nothing is wasted.

Support Standing Spruce Farm and Apothecary!

Check out their collections and shop based on your interests and needs.
Take one of their Classes or Workshops.
On the island? Visit their shop!

Photos by Lesley Assu

Charlene Seward is the Indigenous Foodways Community Outreach Facilitator with the KPU Institute for Sustainable Food Systems. Seward is a proud member of the Squamish Nation with close family ties to the Snuneymuxw Nation. She is passionate about developing meaningful relationships that support change at multiple levels.

With KPU, Charlene brings a decade of experience in Indigenous engagement, with a passion for developing meaningful relationships that support change at multiple levels. She is an experienced facilitator, who values creating safe spaces for rich dialogue and frames all the work she does with a lens of reconciliation and decolonization. Charlene has studied Geography, English Literature, facilitation, and Indigenous food systems from institutions and community-based Indigenous leaders from across the country.

Charlene shares with us her ideas and thoughts for thriving and sustainable food systems.

Learn more about Charlene’s work at KPU!

Check out this Introduction to Reconciliation webinar led by Charlene.

Tea Creek Farm is an Indigenous-led, culturally-safe, land-based Indigenous food sovereignty and trades training initiative.

Tea Creek offers a place for Indigenous people to heal and build their skills and self-confidence. Tea Creek catalyzes livelihoods and revitalizes the ability of Indigenous nations to be self-sufficient and economically resilient. Their Mission is to revitalize the culture of economic interdependence and food production that was a central part of life for Indigenous peoples throughout the Americas.

Tea Creek is operated by Jacob Beaton, an award-winning Indigenous entrepreneur and leader with previous business successes under his belt. Jacob holds the traditional name Dzap’l Gye’a̱win Skiik, meaning a busy eagle, or an eagle who gets things done.

In the last year, Tea Creek has:

Seen 180 Indigenous enrolments for training
Had over 100 grads from at least 1 training program
Had 87% report improvements to their mental health
Hosted 1,200+ additional unique Indigenous guests
Served 7,000+ hot meals
Hosted 5,500+ total Indigenous daily site visits
Gifted 20,000+lb of veggies from the farm
Sponsored 1 Indigenous Red Seal
Sponsored 13 Indigenous Apprentices this year

Read their full Impact Report for 2022 here!

Support the amazing work being done at Tea Creek Farm!

Endorse Tea Creek – Help improve their programs by showing your support!
Fund their work – Email peter@teacreek.ca for partnership opportunities.

Photos by Tea Creek Farm