Fall 2022 Course Spotlight: Indigenous Food Cultures and Communities

colorful ears of corn
Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

In Indigenous America, food is not extracted, it is gifted. The practice of hunting, fishing, planting, harvesting, preparing, preserving, and consuming are all done in relation to the land and all that live on it and within it. These relationships are central to cultural identity and the breakdown of traditional structures, institutions, and families through physical and political violence imposed by colonialism still has lasting effects. In order to understand the state of indigenous health in America and the ongoing fights for rights and sovereignty, foundational knowledge of how tribal nations came in contact with and responded to colonialism is critical and the intention is to provide that context.

This course explores the relationship between the dispossession and disconnection of land, language, and culture, and the disparate health conditions faced by Indigenous communities today. Our entry point to understanding will be through food and how it relates to not only cultural preservation and revitalization but also the alarming disparities in food-related chronic diseases and the political, structural, and economic drivers that contribute to this health crisis. In this process, we will have nuanced conversations that include, but are not limited to; Indigenous worldviews, traditional foods, food and land policy; water rights; and advocacy and allyship.

In recognition that Native Americans are not a monolithic group and that indigenous study is place-based, we will explore how various communities across Turtle Island have been working to restore and revitalize traditional foods and foodways and how that relates to the modern American food system and food movements. This course honors multiple ways of knowing, learning, and understanding that will guide our learning experience. By the end of the semester, students will know how to thoughtfully support, engage with, and work alongside indigenous communities, organizations, and scholars in their work.

Indigenous Food Cultures and Communities (MET ML 610 A1, fall 2022) will meet on campus on Tuesday evenings, 6:00 pm to 8:45 pm, starting on September 6. This 4-credit course is open to graduate students and advanced undergraduates. Non-degree students may also register. Registration information can be found here.

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