“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. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations.”
Declaration of Nyéléni, the first global forum on food sovereignty, Mali, 2007
Food sovereignty in Indian country is one of the most important issues facing Native Americans today.
Food sovereignty is the keystone to good health. Without good health, we do not have the strength, or energy to pursue anything else. We are unable to address all of the other issues facing Native America today.
TLE has a food sovereignty initiative. Funded by Christensen Fund to work with food stakeholders on Navajo and with the Navajo Nation to put in place a food policy that will lead to food sovereignty. TLE is currently working with the Navajo Nation’s Office of the President/Vice President, Dine’ Food Sovereignty Alliance, LCRWCA, Black Mesa Water Coalition, and other food stakeholder to sponsor and present a Food Sovereignty Summit in April. We will bring together as many food stakeholders as possible. The summit will be a place to network, get acquainted, pool resources, support one another, get on the same page and spearhead tribal food sovereignty.
Before Columbus, the indigenous people of this land lived a healthy lifestyle that insured a long life. Among the Navajo People 102 years, was the traditional expected life span. Conquest changed all that. There was loss of land and wholesale destruction of food source. Over the years due to lack of economic opportunities, and government intervention the indigenous diet went from wholesome and natural to fatty, salty “commodities”. Along with this drastic change in diet came a host of diet related illness. Diabetes, obesity, heart problems, and high blood pressure. Currently one third of the Navajo population is either diabetic or pre-diabetic. That is unacceptable, and is one of the main reasons for the Food Sovereignty initiative.