Initially, I attended this meeting being told by a friend that I would receive food. Although that was not the case, I was able to gain a new perspective on food sovereignty, which is the people’s right to healthy and culturally-appropriate food by way of ecologically sustainable methods.
The program consisted of a four-person panel––three members from a Cherokee Tribe in North Carolina and lawyer dedicated to disputes between Native Americans and the United States Government––of people who were involved in the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative with a mission to enhance the health and wellness of their tribal communities. In order to fulfill their mission, these leaders focus on finding strategies through the legal system, policy, and finding ways to educate and empower tribal community members.
The tribal members primarily focused on Cherokee recipes passed on from generation to generation, they especially talked about bean bread and ramps recipes as tribal delicacies. Bean bread is a very difficult recipe that few on the reservation were able to cook up. Ramps are a vegetable that is often considered to be delicious, but many tribal members were not a fan of their pungent smell.
The lawyer spoke about his experiences and his client’s difficulties in trying to grow their cultural foods that mean a lot to their tribes because of the influence and restrictions the United States Government poses on Native American Tribes.