"Where Creator has my feet, there I will be responsible": Impacts of place on urban Indigenous food sovereignty initiatives across Grand River Territory

Miltenburg, Elisabeth
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University of Guelph

Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island have sustained themselves since time immemorial through thriving local place-based food systems. Across the urban centers within Grand River Territory (Kitchener-Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge) there is an emerging movement of Indigenous food sovereignty (IFS) initiatives. Interviews with Indigenous people engaged in local IFS initiatives (n=7) explored how place impacts these efforts. Thematic analysis revealed urban IFS initiatives centered around Land-based knowledge and relationships, which shape the social and physical aspects of the urban food environment. The physical environment influenced access to Land and what types of practices could take place in the city, but relationships mitigated how Land was accessed as well as how practices were carried out in community. Despite impacts of colonization and processes of environmental dispossession, Indigenous people living within urban centres are revitalizing their food systems, engaging in Land-based relationships to grow, harvest, process, and share food in community through acts of reciprocity that honour relationships and responsibility to the Land.

Indigenous food sovereignty, Land-based relationships, Grand River Territory