New seminar series begins with look at Indigenous food sovereignties

A new seminar series by York University – Miijim: Food as Relations – is a conversation with renowned Indigenous, Black and People of Colour food scholars, growers, artists and advocates. 

“Miijim” is an Anishinaabemowin word that translates loosely to food. Discussions will cover the interconnections between art, earthwork, planting, cultivation and harvesting experiences that decenter colonial frameworks, while thinking through labour and power relations related to food justice in urban and rural communities. 

Lisa Myers

Lisa Myers

The series will run in the fall and winter terms with presenters gathering virtually from across Canada. The Finding Flowers Project, with co-principal investigator Assistant Professor Lisa Myers, will present this inaugural Faculty of Environmental and Urban Change seminar series as part of the graduate class “Food, Land and Culture.” 

“These conversations bring together people who do important work with food and medicine plants across communities,” says Myers. “They have offered so much to how I understand miijim, and I am struck by their generosity to be in conversation and to share their work for our seminar series.”

The fall segment will feature conversations on Indigenous food sovereignty; Black and Indigenous food relations; Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee food systems; learning from “manoomin” (wild rice); and art and migrant worker justice. Conversations will continue into the winter semester turning to art related themes, including animal-plant-human relations; food and gardens as remediation; gardens as art as relations; and community food stories. 

The series will begin on Oct. 6 and run from 2:30 to 4:30 pm, presenting a conversation on Indigenous Food Sovereignties. The conversation will bring together Secwepemc artist, curator and co-creator of Bush Gallery, Tania Willard, in conversation with Secwepemc Dawn Morrison, founder and curator of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, and Mi’kmaw professor and Indigenous land and food justice advocate Sherry Pictou. The presenters will consider their work in defence of Indigenous sovereignties, in relation to the reclamation of land, medicines, foods and plants.

This conversation, and all future ones, will be held on Zoom and live-streamed through Facebook. Register on Eventbrite for the zoom link: https://miijimfoodasrelations.eventbrite.com.

MIIJIM conversation series fall 2020

Oct. 6 - Indigenous Food Sovereignties

This conversation will bring together Secwepemc artist, curator and co-creator of Bush Gallery Tania Willard in conversation with Secwepemc Dawn Morrison, Secwepemc founder and curator of the Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty, and Mi’kmaw professor and Indigenous land and food justice advocate Sherry Pictou, to consider their work in defense of Indigenous sovereignties, in relation to the reclamation of land, medicines, foods and plants.

Oct. 20 - Black and Indigenous Foods in Relation

This conversation opens up the decades of work by Cree scholar Professor Priscilla Settee in Indigenous Food Sovereignty with Leticia Ama Deawuo’s work at Black Creek Community Farm and her personal research on food history connecting with her grandmother and African/Indigenous foods.

Oct. 27 - Learning from Manoomin (Wild Rice)

Bringing together James Whetung from Curve Lake First Nation and Jana-Rae Yerxa from Couchiching First Nation to discuss manoomin cultivation and harvesting in relation to Anishinaabe food systems, governance and the reclamation of land and waters.

Nov. 10 - Haudenosaunee & Anishinaabe Food Systems

Considering that food systems are specific to cultures, nations and territories, this conversation brings together medicine and food scholars Joe Pitawanakwat from Wikwemikong First Nation, William Kingfisher from Rama First Nation and Chandra Maracle from Six Nations of the Grand River, to consider this specificity and to add nuance and complexity to the potentially flattening term “Indigenous food system.”

Nov. 24 - Migrant Workers and Food Justice

This conversation is grounded in artistic practices that raise important considerations of labour and living conditions of those workers who grow the food that fills the grocery stores. We will bring together activist and advocate Evelyn Encalada, and Justice 4 Migrant Workers member Tzazna Maranda to consider their calls to action through art and activism.

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