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Celebrating Indigenous food sovereignty: An inventory of initiatives within the western U.S.

Babcock, Ashley B
Despite centuries of colonialism, Indigenous peoples are revitalizing and reclaiming control over their traditional foodways through movements for Indigenous food sovereignty. Scholars have noted that these efforts incorporate established values (relationality, responsibility, reciprocity, and respect), processes (self-determination, decolonization, and education), and goals (environmental and human wellbeing). Through a lens of appreciative inquiry, this research inventories Indigenous food sovereignty initiatives in the western U.S. and explores key features and common themes in these initiatives. A systematic search of scholarly and popular sources yielded 123 initiatives in the region. Thematic analysis identified three main kinds of initiatives: (1) Concrete strategies, including growing and food production, harvesting and food acquisition, food preparation, and distribution and exchange; (2) Cultural revitalization via community development, youth education, other forms of education, and restoration of cultural identity practices; and (3) Indigenous food sovereignty foundations, including advocacy, policy, and environmental stewardship; economic sustainability; and partnerships with non-Indigenous people. Initiatives are interconnected, incorporate education and demonstrate adaptability. By inventorying how diverse Indigenous Nations, communities, and individuals are revitalizing their foodways in the western U.S., this research aims to help illuminate, promote, and support Indigenous food sovereignty efforts.
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Indigenous food sovereignty,cultural revitalization,inventory,appreciative inquiry,wellbeing,Indigenous education,decolonization,self-determination
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