Using food to strengthen Indigenous culture and resist colonization

This week, we dig into how food is connected to land and water, how it was used to colonize, and how Indigenous people are using food to strengthen culture.
This week on Unreserved, we look at how food helps Indigenous communities strengthen their ties to their cultures. (Zoe Tennant, Mariah Gladstone, Jared Williams, Kyle Muzyka)

This week, we dig into how food is connected to land and water. How it was used to colonize, and how Indigenous people today are using food to strengthen culture.

Indigikitchen was created by 25-year-old Mariah Gladstone, the online cooking show aims to decolonize and  "re-Indigenize" diets. 

When Jared Williams was growing up he would often accompany his late grandmother as she gathered and prepared food in their Cowichan territories. Today, Williams is a chef and the elders kitchen manager and traditional foods program manager for the Cowichan Tribes. Williams is working to maintain and strengthen traditional food knowledge in his community, and in his family.

At Pow Wow Cafe in Toronto, there's more than just Indian tacos and corn soup on the menu. Ojibway owner and chef Shawn Adler has launched new soda company that incorporates Indigenous ingredients like cedar and sweetgrass. Unreserved's Zoe Tennant stopped by to see how cedar soda gets made.

When people talk about hospital food, it's not usually about how tasty it is. Or even about how nourishing it is. But a hospital in Sioux Lookout, Ontario is changing that. At the Sioux Lookout Meno Ya Win Health Centre, patients have the option of eating traditional foods. The hospital serves up dishes made with ingredients like moosemeat, beaver, rabbit and duck. Kathy Loon is Anishinaabe and she's the hospital's traditional programs manager.

It was daybreak when Nick Claxton stood at the boat launch with other members of the WSÁNEĆ Nation. They were on Pender Island, BC, at a W̱SÁNEĆ hereditary fishing location. Their ocean-going canoes were setting out onto the Salish Sea. They were ready to drop a full-size reef net, for the first time in a century.

Inuk artist Jesse Tungilik made a sculpture with food receipts from groceries he bought in Nunavut. The sculpture is called Feeding My Family, and he hopes it draws attention to the ongoing impacts of colonization on food insecurity in the North.

This week's playlist: 


Carolina East — Candy

Nabarlek Band and kids from the Manmoyi community — Bush Food is Really Good

Elisapie — Call of the Moose