Onkwehón:we women’s roles in regenerating and reclaiming their ancestral food systems: a pathway to healing




Jacco, Katsistohkwiio

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Onkwehón:we Food Systems throughout Turtle Island have always been and continue to be foundational to Onkwehón:we worldviews, social interactions with all living kin, and community health. However, the process of colonization and federations of the settler states now known as “Canada” and “The United States,” have greatly impacted all Onkwehón:we peoples’ abilities and capacities to maintain their ancestral food systems; this thesis will illuminate how colonial-imposed structural barriers, laws and phenomena such as the Indian Act, the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and Two-Spirited (MMIWG2S+) gender-based genocide and environmental violence have particularly affected Onkwehón:we women’s engagement with their ancestral food systems historically and continually. Yet, Onkwehón:we women have remarkably found innovative ways to regenerate their ancestral food systems, which is an actionable way for them to reclaim and reembody their traditional roles in leadership, governance, decision-making and nation-building. Underlying impacts of these undertakings by Onkwehón:we women are improved wholistic health and wellness for Onkwehón:we women, which can pave a positive pathway for Onkwehón:we communal healing especially by promoting collective relations, collaboration, and normalizing women’s leadership. To bring this theoretical argument to life, I include a case-study of an Indigenous food sovereignty project that I initiated and co-created in my community, Kahnawà:ke. As a Kanien’kehá:ka, Rotinonhsón:ni and Onkwehón:we woman, initiating an Indigenous food sovereignty project with the ultimate goal of contributing to the regeneration of my own ancestral food system was important for me to attempt to address community health issues and improve community relationships through fostering an inclusive and empowering environment for Onkwehón:we women. Ultimately, this thesis celebrates Onkwehón:we women’s excellence in resurgence, particularly highlighting their work in reclaiming and regenerating Onkwehón:we food systems.



Onkwehón:we Food Systems, Onkwehón:we Women, Regeneration, Reclamation, Governance, Healing, Wholistic Health and Wellness