In late September, Nonie Woolf, FAST Blackfeet Chair, and Scott Brant, FAST Blackfeet Board Member, attended the First Nations Development Institute’s L.E.A.D Conference in Cabazon, California. One of the sessions asked participants to reclaim indigenous stories and retell them – effectively. With four simple (seemingly) themes, new stories are brought to life.
You’ll see these themes at work in Nonie’s story below:
- Values – Things cherished long ago are still held sacred.
- History – Many people don’t actually understand the real, lived history of Native people, so provide some schooling!
- Visibility – Link traditions to current issues with examples.
- Call to Action – Ask something of the people who are hearing your story. They might just join the movement.
Nonie Woolf’s FAST Blackfeet Story
Editing by Scott Brant
“Food Sovereignty is the right to healthy culturally appropriate foods and our right to define our own food system and agriculture system.
Honor for indigenous plants and animals that feed us maintained a plentiful food source and kept food accessible for generations in Blackfeet society. Strength of family came from including all in the procurement, processing and consumption of food; and eating is still central to all gatherings and events.
Attack on tribal sovereignty by destroying indigenous plants and animals — through homesteading, fencing traditional lands, and occupation by non-natives — resulted in loss of traditional eating and reliance on Westernized eating practices and food sources that create unhealthy people.
Blackfeet people carry the knowledge to support family and community using hunting and plant gathering techniques. Present day living emphasizes money as the primary way to obtain food as self reliance has decreased.
The time has come to gather all who carry the knowledge of eating, food access, production, traditional foods, and healthy eating into a collective space. Within this framework Blackfeet can define a contemporary way of eating based in traditional life that will be good for all who live within the Blackfeet Nation and generations that follow.
FAST Blackfeet believes this is possible. That is why our vision is for a healthy, strong, and food secure Blackfeet Nation.”
If you want to learn more about reclaiming Indigenous stories, check out the Reclaiming Native Truth website.