Indigenous food systems and food sovereignty

A collaborative conversation from the American Association of Geographers 2022 Annual Meeting


  • Suzanne Brant First Nations Technical Institute
  • Keith Williams First Nations Technical Institute
  • Jesse Andrews University of Nebraska Kearney
  • Colleen Hammelman University of North Carolina at Charlotte
  • Charles Z. Levkoe Lakehead University



Indigenous Food Systems, Food Sovereignty, Reciprocity, North America, Turtle Island


Indigenous scholars and their allies increasingly contribute to food systems debates and practices through pursuing and interrogating ideas of Indigenous food sovereignty. This essay adds to this ongoing conversation by providing a synthesis of and reflection on a panel session on Indigenous food sovereignty held at the American Association of Geographers (AAG) 2022 Annual Meeting. We place this conversation in the context of a growing body of scholarship on food sovereignty and Indigenous food systems. Organized by the AAG’s Geographies of Food and Agriculture Specialty Group, with support from the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development, the session engaged Indigenous scholars in a discussion about the meaning of food sovereignty, different ways of knowing, relationships and reciprocity, and systems of power. The panelists emphasized the relation­ship between all elements of creation at the core of food sovereignty, the importance of valuing differ­ent ways of knowing and expertise, making visible histories of settler knowledge appropriation, and critically assessing how power manifests, operates, and is understood in different food systems and worldviews. Building on the scholarly literature and the evolving place-based grounding of food sover­eignty movements, we argue that it is critical to address ongoing realities of genocide and settler colonialism in North America/Turtle Island by forging respectful relationships with all of creation and to work through collaborations led by Indigenous people and grounded in reciprocity.


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Author Biographies

Suzanne Brant, First Nations Technical Institute

President & CEO

Keith Williams, First Nations Technical Institute

Director of Research and Social Innovation

Jesse Andrews, University of Nebraska Kearney

Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Rural Measures Project

Colleen Hammelman, University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Associate Professor, Department of Geography & Earth Sciences,

Charles Z. Levkoe, Lakehead University

Canada Research Chair in Equitable and Sustainable Food Systems, Department of Health Sciences



How to Cite

Brant, S., Williams, K., Andrews, J., Hammelman, C., & Levkoe, C. (2023). Indigenous food systems and food sovereignty: A collaborative conversation from the American Association of Geographers 2022 Annual Meeting. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 12(3), 1–14.

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