Righting Our Relations with Food - Episode 1 Transcript
7:34PM Sep 21, 2021
Hello, and welcome to Righting Our Relations with Food: a podcast series where we meet with guests from across the country to discuss food security and food sovereignty and how we can make changes to our food system with a focus on Canada. Righting Relations is a national network of adult educators and community organizers working for radical social change. And this series is part of a larger project on food sovereignty and the Sustainable Development Goals. So if you're interested in learning more, please check out our YouTube channel and follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Today, my guest is Audrey Logan. Audrey is a Nehiyaw Cree/Metis woman from northern Alberta, who teaches out of permaculture garden in West Broadway in Winnipeg. using traditional methods. She has been living off the land in urban Winnipeg for more than a decade. And now she leads Dehydration Nations, a grassroots indigenous-led movement to harness the traditional method of food dehydration, and paired with nation to nation trade as a way of promoting food sovereignty. Audrey, we're so happy to have you here. And I just want to start by asking you to talk a little bit more about the work you do and why it's so important.
What I do is I have a an area that I had asked her for your lengthy subpoena, to where then I could show how to take a westernized garden and convert it to a more traditional one, as well as I share at the garden how is it that indigenous people became became sodependent on the administration aspect. And a lot of that had to do with what was written in the treaties: that in return for sharing the land that they would be provided for. But unfortunately, a lot of the things that were provided as provisions are very, very damaging to our people, because salt, flour, lard, sugars, these were things that were provided by the government for a treaty aspect, but it adds a lot more damage. That's why so many people have diabetes and have so much illness, because they've been forced to have a processed food diet. Which as my Aunty said, you know, eat from a box, you'll end up in a box. You dried everything. That's how we were able to transport a lot of our goods around all of not just Turtle Island, but South America as well. Stuff were brought up here because it was right prior and easily, easily brought up brought around to the different communities. And so now having archaeology back me up that we were the original farmers, if it was not for indigenous peoples farming, squash, beans, corn and a myriad of other things, potatoes, tomatoes, you know, the world would not have the culinary
breaks open the flavor in your mouth when you're eating true foods that your DNA recognizes. And as my auntie said, we have blood memory. Even though I didn't grow up with her, and with my family. She's as she told me it's in your blood. That's why you naturally are drawn to doing these sorts of things and to embrace it. And since I have it's been nothing but bliss when it comes to flour, well I switched off the flour because it made me bloat so bad and tired. It's been noted even in the court documents that as soon
it's nothing but goodness comes from it. And when we look at what saved many of the settlements that came over, it was because Indigenous people shared that knowledge with the Selkirk settlement settlement that ended up here in Manitoba. They were dying. They did not get here in time to plant their crops. Their animals were dying from the cold because they were not used to it. And
that's why Chief Peguis, not just Chief Peguis, because we have to remember it was the clan mothers who ran things at that time. And their clan mothers told that, you know, we can't let these people starve to death. We must take them food. And so they did. They took them all kinds of dried meat, fish, berries, vegetables, and taught people how to make from that.
I remember reading in one Mennonite cookbook, and thank you to the people of tapeless for sharing how to make the vegetable flour. It's not all Bambi and berries.
We have a whole slew of foods and the archeologists actually, because with our modern science, we're studying what was called phytoliths. And phytoliths are residue in the pots, cooking pots. And they analyze it find out what were the people eating. And they had a page three pages long.
There was so much food availability and and such that they were like how did this all happen, which in a way proved that we were had American traders be treated with amongst each other. So in Thomson pots, they found mountain goat. There ain't no mountain goats in Winnipeg or Manitoba. But that came from our cousins to the west.
unfortunately, because of reserves and such that the people had to do with what was in their area.
Whereas before that, we had panamerican trade. So we had all types of foods in every pot. And some of those pots were not very small, the bigger one was at least four feet wide.
our people have been growing that food on purpose. Because once humans start to pinch plants and cultivate them, it changes the seed.
And when he passed away, it had those seeds in the stomach and they were able to analyze it and say, yeah. These people were not food insecure. Never.
And in fact, none of our people were, that's a big misconception that is passed
And it still is actually in the Indian Act that
there was, uh in musket, a
First Nations there they were having a wonderful potato farm. Local potato farmers got mad,
Next thing you know the government came in shutting down.
Was that recently?
Yeah. Okay, wow. And that's why many are just doing small small plots, because the economy itself is dependent upon the First Nations not having that food accessibility. Their local farmers, who are white farmers, they, they control the system,
you control the food, you control the people.
So when people stop buying their potatoes, they got little upset.
They took it to the government and that's how the wheat board in itself got created. Because the neighbors that were farming earlier, before the Indian Act, were doing so good, that the others got jealous.
also in animal husbandry. In Alberta, I remember how in my foster home, we, actually, as a youth, we actually - not all white people were bad. That's a given.
And that and as a as a kid, that's what, one of the things we did was middle of the night, get woken up: okay, now go rustle some cattle.
Also, you're herding cattle into these big trucks aand stuff, and the farmers help help the others out and took it to market because the government itself imposed so many permits and bylaws and such that the Indigenous people were driven totally out of the economy. That's why now you see much any bison out there, very few are even run by Indigenous people. There's elk farms out there, not run by Indigenous people. Our native rice is not run by Indigenous people. And also all over food has been co-opted to their system and their ways of production, which isn't always good for the environment.
Right? Some call me a guerilla gardener,
you're a radical messing, I don't care what you call me. My cupboards are full, my freezer's full and I pass out food to others who are in need. And that's what we're supposed to be doing.
bonus. But if not, that's okay. I'll still share what I know. Because it needs to be known that our people were very self sufficient for 1000s of years, through more than one Ice Age.
You know, we went down down south though, to hang out with our cousins. And when we came back up, we brought with us the potatoes and corn and tomatoes and many other things. As well as seeds that were just went dormant,
So at the garden site I take care of at 545 Broadway, we actually do have quite a few native bees there. And it's quite wonderful to see those
little tiny ones, those big bumblebees, they'd just crush those flowers and some of the tiny flowers that are needing to be pollinated. Right?
Wow, a lot of
history there. I mean, some of the history that I don't even myself not aware of or didn't know about our people being gardening and yeah, some of that history I feel like has been lost even like within my own community. To
where I live,
or come from
purpose, like ever make that purposely enforced the reserve system, and the dependency system, all these stores are all run by the government. And they bring in the worst food ever. And people have no choice but to buy from them.
They'll say no. Again, you make it along.
And so once, once you learn, learn that, that that was an imposition, to create this situation, where
there's a whole new aspect, you have to take down that system and say no, enough of this. No, our young people need to understand that a lot of the things they eat every day is Indigenous to that pumpkin pie was not brought over.
you know, a lot of trouble. We got to balance things out. Right, that makes sense. Yes. and modern science is now catching up to it.
Now they're analyzing food going, Oh, geez, these actually we're good for you. It's a whole science,
pesticides and herbicides. For anything to get into a store, it has to be dipped in a fungicide, and that
keeps it from rotting. That's what keeps it from sprouting. So they are dipped in what's called de-bud. And how I know that too, is because I've gone to some of these manufacturing places. And as a truck driver, in my younger years, I've seen oranges in in.
Because for an orange to be ripe it has to be on a fruit on the tree for two years
To ripen naturally. So what they do is they pick it first year, because to ship it up second year means it can get squished, it can rot a lot quicker, and all that. So we would pick up these green oranges from only one year. And we turn on the methane gas.
As we're driving back up into Canada, by time we got back to Calgary all them were all orange. But yet I knew that they were not naturally mature. So when you see that from the other side of things as a, you know, trucker and producer and in that sense of taking things to these places, I won't eat a lot of that commercial food. But I haven't really been dependent upon the store now for 13 years. So I'm no longer worried about that for myself. Because, again, I've switched back to our ways. And sure if it's okay, if it's a little work, I'm going for a walk and I'll forage as I'm walking here. So Oh, it's contaminated. How so? Then you knew know nothing about plant biology. Plants need carbon dioxide in order to live. That's why they give off oxygen for us to live.
I have a little running joke with one of my grandkids because that means tree farts we breathe in. And they breathe ours. It's a mutual thing. But shows that cycle that is needed. Right. And if you go and they've even shown all the way up into the North, that PCBs and everything else are even there. There is no pristine area anywhere on this planet. Because everything shall also be the wind and wind goes around the whole planet, not just on one spot.
So there are no pristine areas. What we need to do is try and get back some of it by switching the way we eat and grow. So monoculture kills a lot of things. a monoculture is basically growing one type of food or one type of thing and diversified Knowing you utilize a lot of different plants, and that is really,
I find, is way, way more beneficial. Because plants help each other.
They can also harm each other. So now there is a companion list because here in Canada, they discredited our people for growing in multiples or diverse growing, said, Oh, that's impossible, that doesn't work. Well, so they created an Agricultural Study Center, which over the decades has actually proven our people, right?
Yeah, prove that. Certain plants like each other, and certain plants don't, and how each can affect each other. And the Seven Sisters is basically telling about how companions, how they can help each other and also harm each other, but also create different medicines. So many people know the three sisters, but they're actually the seven. We have corn, bean,squash. Then we have sister sunflower, which helps the squash, and sister tobacco. And then, uh, sister sunroot, usually it's a root root vegetable that loves the clay. And it helps us to break up the clay first before the other sisters get planted. And you say oh well, what about the seventh? You. You're the seventh sister. Cause you're part of the equation. You're not outside of it.
Thank you for listening to this month's episode of Righting Our Relations with Food. We would like to thank our wonderful guests for sharing their knowledge and their insights with us. And from everyone here at Righting Relations Canada. We would like to thank our partner, the John Humphrey Center for Peace and Human Rights. And of course, our funders, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation, and Employment and Social Development Canada, for making this project possible. We hope you'll join us again next month.