We all know that food is fundamentally important for sustaining human life. Beyond survivorship, humans all around the world have developed a spiritual, social, and economic relationship with foods. They are an integral part of our identity, shaping our physical, emotional, and cultural dimensions. They supply the essential nutrients and medicines allowing for communities and societies to grow. They also provide a time where families and friends gather to share stories, laugh, dance, and cry. Their availability and accessibility have in the past been heavily dependent on environmental factors, where agricultural, collecting, hunting, and ceremonial practices have reflected this relationship.
For northern First Nations and Inuit, country foods continue to be socially, economically, and spiritually important for their health and well-being. Cultural practices, such as hunting, gathering, food preparation, and language have been heavily shaped by food availability and accessibility. Today, northern peoples have access to store foods as well as country foods such as seal, caribou, arctic char, berries, and beluga. The increased access to high-carbohydrate store-bought foods has been shown to have negative health effects, however, country foods have been documented as often being nutritionally superior and preferred to store foods.
Ensuring that northern First Nations and Inuit have access to country foods in a changing climate is of utmost importance for a healthy physical, mental, and spiritual lifestyle. Securing access to culturally relevant and preferred, safe and nutritious foods is considered a global issue and is being taken seriously by governments, non-government organizations and communities around the world.
The importance of food security for northern First Nations and Inuit has been reflected in community-led proposal submissions to Department of Indigenous Services Canada’s Climate Change and Health Adaptation Program.
“Food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient safe and nutritious food …”– FAO (1996) Declaration on world food security. World Food Summit, FAO, Rome.
Click on a link below to check out how these communities are engaging in climate change adaptation!
Nisga’a and Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in
Inuvialuit Settlement Region
Little Salmon Carmacks
Na-cho Nyak Dun
Ross River Dena