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First Nations Food Sovereignty

June 30, 2010

Charlotte with members of the Zapatista Junta (Government) of Oventik who are proud that everything they grow in their region is organic.

Charlotte Coté, American Indian Studies, is currently researching Native food sovereignty issues. Her plan is to research how Canadian First Nations and other indigenous groups are making a strong effort to reconnect to their traditional foods as a way to strengthen their communities and identities. “Numerous studies conducted on indigenous peoples globally found that they have the worst health and nutrition of all communities in all countries world-wide,” says Charlotte. “In Canada and the United States, Aboriginal people suffer from chronic, debilitating, and life-threatening illnesses. As a way to overcome these major health problems, Native people are looking at ways to reincorporate traditional foods back into their diets and to restore cultural food practices.” Charlotte’s research took her to Chiapas where the Mayan people have maintained a cultural connection to their foods. This is becoming increasingly difficult as the Mexican Government continues to apply pressure to exploit the resources in the area. Since their revolt in 1994 the indigenous Zapitistas continue to fight for their homelands and for the right to subsist of these lands.

This project was supported, in part, by funding from the Center’s Program Enhancement Grant, Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.

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