“Eating our culture”: intersections of culturally grounded values-based frameworks and Indigenous food systems restoration in Secwepemcúl̓ecw




Chisholm, Libby Jay

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Indigenous values, epistemologies, and indicators have always been ways of teaching and learning about change, and planning for the future. Indigenous food systems are central capacities supporting social-ecological resilience and resistance. Settler-colonialism and environmental degradation are two drivers of rapid and cumulative change over the past century that are at the root of health challenges experienced by Indigenous people and impacts to Indigenous food systems. Indigenous food sovereignty is a framework many Indigenous communities have been working within to support the restoration of Indigenous food systems, knowledges, and relationships to land in this time of resurgence. Recent scholarship highlights the importance of biocultural and culturally grounded values frameworks, aligning with Indigenous epistemologies, for measuring social-ecological resilience and resistance. Indigenous scholars and communities are also calling for more respectful and meaningful research practices in alignment with Indigenous priorities and worldviews. The Neskonlith Band’s Switzmalph community near Salmon Arm, British Columbia, has been working towards restoring Secwépemc plants and food systems through land-based education projects and collaboration in multi-scalar partnerships. This study highlights two cultural concepts or values related to Secwépemc food systems restoration and land based education in Switzmalph and Secwépemc territory more broadly, and their role in guiding future pathways and multi-scalar relationships supporting Secwépemc food systems restoration. This study also highlights the role of storytelling as a method and context for teaching and learning about cultural concepts and values in land-based settings. This study discusses the importance of process-oriented approaches to research for demonstrating how Indigenous ways of knowing can guide ongoing and embodied applications of ethical frameworks. The results of this work highlight the importance of culturally-grounded values in measuring, guiding, and reflecting on change, as well as the vital importance of Indigenous ways of knowing in guiding ethical research processes, and participatory and community-led research throughout all stages of research design.



Indigenous food sovereignty, Social-ecological resilience, Cultural resurgence, Secwépemc, Eco-cultural restoration, Indigenous research methodologies