For Indigenous communities, food is more than a commodity.
“When we examine hundreds of Indigenous models, we find that their foods are the accumulation of direct connections to the land, to each other, and to ancestry.” said A-dae Romero Briones (Cochiti / Kiowa), Program Director – Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems at the First Nations Development Institute. “Food is the art, symbols, and stories of how a people converses with Earth.”
Around the world, podcast episodes and films document and celebrate Indigenous farming techniques and culinary traditions. From a chef recovering dishes once lost due to colonization to a farmer using Indigenous principles to grow her food, these works highlight the cultural significance of Indigenous eating habits. And they help demonstrate the importance of listening to and learning from Indigenous voices.
In honor of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples on August 9, here are 16 podcasts, short videos and documentaries celebrating these indigenous eating habits around the world.
This short video produced by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations highlights the work of Asaph, a traditional hunter and conservationist living in Rapununi, Guyana. Threats to the region’s rich biodiversity are increasing, but with the help of the Sustainable Wildlife Management Program, Asaph is working to improve the sustainable use of wildlife and protect the environment. Those who wish to learn more about Asaph’s work can also do so. here.
Based in New Zealand, Dr Jessica Hutchings is a Maori Kaupapa Research Leader and Hua Parakore (Organic Maori) farmer. In this film produced by Happen Films, Hutchings discusses Hua Parakore, a framework based on Maori principles for producing natural foods without chemical inputs. Hutchings, who helped develop the framework, explains why the approach forces farmers to consider their connection to the land, the many living species of the world, and their relationships to one another.
Directed by James Beard Award-winning filmmaker Sanjay Rawal, “Gather” follows Native Americans as they strive to claim their spiritual, political and cultural identity through food sovereignty. Stories include a chef working to collect ingredients from his tribe and a high school student demonstrating the nutritional importance of the buffalo. While the documentary depicts the destruction and historical trauma caused by centuries of genocide, it also tells a story of resilience and innovation.
All my connections is a podcast hosted by Matika Wilbur (Swinomish and Tulalip) and Adrienne Keene (Cherokee Nation) that explores the issues facing Native American peoples today. In this episode, Wilbur and Keene chat with nutrition educator Valerie Segrest (Muckleshoot) to discuss the legacy of colonialism on eating habits and work to restore Indigenous food sovereignty. Segrest helps define Indigenous food sovereignty and explains how others can contribute to the movement.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) dedicates part of this podcast episode to the food systems of the Karen people in Thailand. Prasert Trakansuphakon, who works on the social development of indigenous peoples in Thailand, discusses the threats to indigenous food systems and the resilience of the Karen people.
Point of origin is a series of podcasts on global food stories. Thanks to a conversation with Chef Binta, this episode explores the eating habits of the Fulani people. Self-proclaimed nomadic chef, Chef Binta documents Fulani stories and organizes culinary pop-ups inspired by Fulani culture throughout West and Central Africa. She helps define Fulani cuisine, explains the passion required to prepare Fulani dishes, and discusses how nature inspires her cuisine.
This episode of the Grilled sister The podcast features a conversation with native immigrant farm workers based in Colorado. Host Andi Murphy (Navajo) finds out about their journey from Guatemala and the impulse to leave their homes. Murphy also speaks with Dr. Giovanni Batz, a social anthropologist who studies Mayan migration, displacement and diaspora, as well as indigenous movements.
This episode of Point of origin focuses on indigenous food systems in the United States. Indigenous chefs and journalists, including Sioux chef Sean Sherman, join the show to discuss how they protect and promote their eating habits. Topics include the importance of preserving land and harvesting practices as well as food system approaches that truly honor Indigenous diets.
Tribute to Indigenous Food Systems with A-dae Romero Briones
Food Tank President Danielle Nierenberg speaks with A-dae Romero Briones (Cochiti / Kiowa), Program Director – Indigenous Agriculture and Food Systems at the First Nations Development Institute. Briones hopes to help people understand the resilience of indigenous food systems while helping to lobby for the protection of these systems. The conversation focuses on kincentric ecology, land stewardship and Indigenous approaches to food safety.
Threshold is a Peabody Award-winning public radio show and documentary covering some of the most pressing environmental issues. On “Inuit Food Security, Inuit Sovereignty”, listeners learn about the importance of food security for Inuit self-determination. The episode also explores the ways in which climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic are affecting regional diets on which Inuit peoples depend.
The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) created this short video following the second global meeting of the Indigenous Peoples’ Forum. During this meeting, 40 representatives of indigenous peoples’ organizations from around the world discuss their food systems and sustainable livelihoods. Incorporating footage from the global meeting and messages from participants, the video highlights the importance of indigenous farming practices and food systems.
In this episode, Andi Murphy from Grilled sister looks at the history and science of nixtamalization – a process that releases nutrients from corn and allows it to turn into hominy and masa. Despite the fact that indigenous peoples developed the process of nixtamalisation centuries ago, the episode explains that these contributions have largely remained uncredited and overlooked. To learn about this story and the Indigenous science behind the process, Murphy chats with chefs, academics, poets and more.
Mother of the seed: Coming home, Native Food Sovereignty Alliance (video)
“Seed Mother: Coming Home” is a short film created in partnership between the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA) and The Cultural Conservancy. Through animations, film sequences and music, the work highlights Seed Rematriation, a movement focused on the return of seeds to their communities of origin. To celebrate the film’s release, NAFSA also hosted a roundtable on seed repatriation and the role of art in promoting the movement, available here.
After struggling to hold onto their land and resist slavery, the British exiled the Garifuna people from St. Vincent in 1797. Despite this persecution and the diaspora that followed, the Garifuna worked to preserve their culture. Shot in Belize, “The Garifuna Journey” celebrates the history, language, food, music and spiritual traditions of the Garifuna people.
Produced by the Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee (IPACC), this podcast focuses on the impacts of the pandemic on indigenous peoples. Listeners will hear from several activists, who will discuss the needs of their communities and call for the development of long-term plans to help women move forward. The conversation also highlights the important role women play in the food systems of their communities.
Produced by Great Big Story, this short documentary stars Abigail Mendoza, a renowned chef who strives to preserve the culinary traditions of the Zapotec community. Mendoza talks about the history of traditional cooking techniques used in his restaurant and their importance. “Yes, it’s a slower process,” she says, “but when you care about your culture and love your people, you keep that tradition alive. “