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Tribal Foods Conference Showcases Native Food Sovereignty and Sustainability

Officials say tribes in the Dakota’s have the potential to expand local food growing operations.  

Nutritionists working in Indian Country say traditional values align with the goals of food sovereignty and sustainability

The 2nd annual Tribal Foods Conference is scheduled for Bismarck next week.  

Wanda Agnew is a dietitian and instructor at United Tribes Technical College. She’s speaking at the tribal foods conference.  Her presentation is called Connecting Mother Earth to Health at the Kitchen Table. It includes a food calendar.

“Using indigenous words as well as some English words to support it show that there were not seasons like summer, winter, spring and fall and the months of course, the English language, but based on the moon everyone lived using local foods and food really supported strength in a community, it supported the health of the community, it supported the villages being able to care for each other and all ages working together,” says Agnew.

Agnew adds that she’s not against scientifically engineered foods to support large populations; but she thinks it’s still possible to have all natural food diets.

“It’s just so important that we go back to real food, and that we teach cultures and the traditions and the values and the memories that come with food so there’s much that can be pulled together with having people grow their own food,” says Agnew.

The Tribal Foods Conference includes Agnew’s presentation and other experts covering topics including growing and gathering food on tribal lands.