The colonizing of America separated Indigenous people from their nourishing “first foods,” plant and animal species that native communities relied upon for subsistence, ceremony and medicine. More than a decade ago, the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community (KBIC), Michigan Technological University (MTU), and the Western UP Planning and Development Region came together to create a space that celebrated and preserved the knowledge and cultural identity of tribal people living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. From this collaboration came the Debweyendan Indigenous Garden (DIGs), a place to grow foods and medicines and drive the community toward food sovereignty.
In the latest episode of the Make Meaning Podcast, host Lynne Golodner interviews two important DIGs contributors: Valoree Gagnon, Assistant Professor in the College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science at Michigan Tech and Director for University-Indigenous Community Partnerships at the Great Lakes Research Center; and Karena Schmidt, an ecologist with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community Natural Resources Department.
In this episode, Lynne, Val, and Karena discuss:
- The creation & growth of DIGs
- How to define native foods
- The importance of food sovereignty
- The native communities of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
- How to be an ally to Native Americans
- Loving the land you come from
- Finding the foods native to your community
- Your role in achieving food sovereignty
Links and Resources:
Coming up next on the Make Meaning Podcast: Lynne interviews Karen Baum Gordon, co-founder of Strategic Horizons, Inc., and a consultant at McKinsey & Co., about her memoir The Last Letter: A father’s struggle, a daughter’s quest, and the long shadow of the Holocaust, and grappling with a legacy of love, loss and living.
If you enjoyed this episode, you’ll like these other Make Meaning podcast episodes:
- Episode 116 – Jake Neher – Telling Stories and Planting Seeds
- Episode 105 – Helen Taylor & Gina Nicholas – How to really protect the environment by being a true part of it
- Episode 65 – Reyanne Mustafa – How to reduce food waste
- Episode 24 – Stephen Payne – Inner Voice
- Episode 6 – Protecting The Great Lakes with Jackson Riegler