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Why Indigenous Peoples Day Matters
Recognition of the contributions of the world’s Indigenous Peoples is only just starting to permeate conversations about modern health. International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, held annually on August 9, reminds us that, by ensuring the preservation of Indigenous knowledge and expanding its transference, modern society has much to gain.
Nearly 100 years ago, Weston A. Price, DDS, in his search for greater understanding of the perils of the diet of the civilized world, ventured into oft-overlooked Indigenous communities to confirm a theory: that ancestral nutrition practice supported vibrant health, while the modern diet was advancing rampant illness and disease. What he might not have expected in his encounters with Native Peoples during his decades-long circumnavigation of our planet was how each community developed unique plant and animal diet traditions that produced robust health for its inhabitants.
In our winter 2020-2021 Journal of Health and Healing, Gerald Clarke, in “Traditional Indigenous Foods and Farming in Southern California,” reminds us that hunter-gatherer tribes developed symbiotic relationships with flora and fauna that sustained their nations for millennia.
A member of the Cahuilla Band of Indians, an Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Riverside, and a frequent lecturer on Native art, culture and issues, Gerald explores the disconnect of agricultural views between Native Californians and their early-European counterparts and shares wise food cultivation and diet practices of the Cahuilla Nation in this excerpt from Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the United States by the University of Oklahoma Press.
Click here to read more in “Traditional Indigenous Foods and Farming in Southern California.”
In News for Now, in our Journal of Health and Healing, and at our website, we often share stories about Indigenous Peoples, including ancestral practices that are helping to redefine what it means to be regenerative. In honor of International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples 2022, we’re sharing a few of these stories below:
2022 Winners of the UN Development Programme’s Equator Prize
This Equator Prize recognizes Indigenous Peoples who provide standard-setting examples of sustainable, natural solutions for their communities. This year, several of the ten prizes were awarded to women-led organizations excelling in agriculture, conservation and biodiversification, and sustainable entrepreneurship. Read more at UNDP.
Local Tribes Continue Fight for Salmon
A devastating trifecta of warming waters, pollutants, and hydropower dams threaten salmon in the Columbia River Basin. With the help of motivated youth including Keyen Singer, local tribes, such as the Confederated Tribes of Umatilla Indian Reservation, are pressing forward in their generations-long fight to save this sacred food source by petitioning for the removal of four dams on the lower Snake River. Read more at NRDC.
The Return of Native Cuisine in California
Chef Crystal Wahpepah is on a mission to introduce people to Indigenous food at Wahpepah’s Kitchen in Oakland, California. Hers is one of a handful of Indigenous restaurants in the US, where ancient family traditions treat food as medicine, connecting the community and helping people heal through seasonal and sustainable ingredients, such as salmon, bison, and berries, that have nourished Indigenous Peoples for millennia. Read more at the Guardian.
Teaching Native American Kids About Indigenous Foods
Fawn Youngbear-Tibbetts at the Wicoie Nandagikendan Early Childhood Urban Immersion Project in Minneapolis has made it her mission to feed and teach preschoolers about Indigenous foods, from large game to native plants. With nearly half of Native American children suffering from obesity, due largely to limited access to healthy food, she sees this as critical to connecting them with their culture while bolstering their nutrition. Read more at Kaiser Health News.
We especially honor the role of women in the preservation and transference of Indigenous knowledge, the focus of this year’s World’s Indigenous Peoples observance and expressed in the UN Women’s Official Statement on the Vital Role of Indigenous Women. Furthermore, nearly 100 years after Dr. Price’s international scientific studies, we are actively seeking relationships with BIPOC communities, and especially those studied by Dr. Price, to serve them responsibly and honorably as we work to advance universal access to nourishment and healing.
Thank you for following along with us today and every day. In the months and years ahead, we will continue to provide you with valuable news and insight to empower your connection with nature and the food that sustains us all. We can’t do this without the support of people like you who understand the value of trustworthy information to empower personal health – thank you! If you’re not currently a contributor, please join us in this journey by making a contribution to Price-Pottenger today.
To your best health,
Steven J. Schindler,