Celebrating Indigenous Agricultural Traditions Through Film

About 14 states and 130 cities across the U.S. now recognize the 2nd Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples' Day.

About 14 states and 130 cities across the U.S. now recognize the 2nd Monday of October as Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is meant to honor and acknowledge the remarkable contributions of Native American peoples. One of the best ways to do this is to highlight and appreciate Native peoples’ comprehensive contributions to agriculture and food culture across the continent.

A new documentary called GATHER captures the voices of Native Americans, including chefs, foragers, fishermen, and farmers as they uncover how traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) practices such as regenerative agriculture and permaculture can transform food systems used today. Native food providers and scientists also share how traditional practices can help consumers reclaim food sovereignty. GATHER was heralded by the NY Times as a “Critics Pick” that travels to the heart of TEK as it follows an interwoven stream of Native narratives as they revive Native American foodways. The critically-acclaimed documentary is available to stream on iTunes (US/UK/Canada), Amazon (US/UK) and Vimeo-on-Demand (rest of the world).

Edible Finger Lakes has written in the past about a revival of Native food culture in covering the Iroquois White Corn Project. This project, based at the Ganondagan State Historic Site in Victor, aims to educate the public about the importance of white corn, a healthy grain that the Haudenosaunee (hoe-dee-no-SHOW-nee) peoples widely cultivated. The project has allowed several products made from the corn to appear on regional store shelves, including hulled white corn, roasted corn flour and white corn flour. The Haudenosaunee used white corn to make healthy and hearty bread, hominy, pudding, succotash stew and corn soup.

Photo: Lisa Barker

This project is just one example of how America’s indigenous populations practiced agricultural methods that are inspiring more sustainable and healthful traditions in the Finger Lakes. Click here for more information on the Ganondagan State Historical Site and for other resources visit the Traditional Center For Indigenous Knowledge and Healing.

(Sources: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-museum-american-indian/2020/10/07/indigenous-peoples-day-2020/)

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