Sharing the Knowledge: The Discourse and Practice of Indigenous Food Sovereignty in British Columbia and Washington
Food sovereignty is defined as a universal right to have control over the source and content of one’s sustenance. The principles of food sovereignty are integral to Canadian First Nations and Native American tribe’s health, wellness, economic stability, and environmental consciousness. Cross-cultural knowledge sharing has been instrumental between native and non-native communities in defining food sovereignty. Here I address how the discourse and practice of food sovereignty has influenced the efforts of Native communities to reestablish their traditional food systems, and what role cross-cultural, participatory engagement and political alliance has within the food sovereignty movement. I argue that food sovereignty is a spatial and epistemological “contact zone” with points of commonality and contention. Through cross-cultural ethnographic accounts of scholars engaged with food sovereignty in Washington and Canada, I compile case studies of allyship and mentorship within specific communities. I develop guiding principles for "relational thinking" across boundaries of culture and ways of knowing. This response provides opportunities for productive and meaningful partnerships as well as ways to redefine and decolonize the language of the Food Sovereignty movement.