The increasing awareness of the shortcoming of the modern diet and its health impacts has been welcome. Flexible as we are in our choice of foods, nevertheless, when you take bodies that have evolved over thousands of years on whole grain, relatively-low-carb foods, and feed them refined sugars and flours, one might expect problems.
This is particularly acute in native communities, where colonial diets can be vastly different than the indigenous staple foods, and cause diabetes and other problems. 2.6 times more acute, if you believe the CDC
The growing awareness is finally beginning to benefit native communities, with a smattering of initiatives over the past seven years:
- First Nations Development Institute held two Native Food Summits in 2002 and 2004 and even created an assessment tool to guide food system development and sovereignty
- Similarly, Menonimee College held a forum through their Sustainable Development Institute
- Renewing America's Food Traditions is launched, to map out the traditional diets of North America and highlight foods at risk, including many indigenous foods.
- Native Seeds/SEARCH continues its quest to preserve heirloom seeds, and even offers discounts to Native Communities.
- Honor the Earth and the White Earth Land Recovery Project produces Food Is Medicine (unfortunately now out of print), highlighting the healing power of food. To provide Anishinaabe foods, the Land Recovery Project is still going strong with Native Harvest
The time is coming where as a society we will honor and value health and quality over expedience and quantity, and sooner rather than later. It is the indigenous way we return to, after all.