Sacred Harvest, Sacred Place

Mapping Harvesting Sites in Wasagamack First Nation

Keywords: Foodshed, Traditional Land Use Mapping, Wild Food, Food Environments, Food Sovereignty, Indigenous

Abstract

This paper tells a place-based story of food in the Wasagamack territory in Manitoba, Canada, through traditional land-use map biographies with 49 active Indigenous harvesters, video interviews with eight key informants, and input from commu­nity workshops. Although harvesters in Wasaga­mack First Nation do not depend solely on wild foods, map biographies show that traditional land uses remain important and occur throughout their ancestral lands. This land remains pristine, with virgin boreal forests, natural flowing waters, and abun­dant wildlife, and occupied almost exclusively by Indigenous people who continue to harvest wild foods and speak their language fluently. All Wasagamack people interviewed (N=57) regarded the land to be perfect as the Creator made it, and sacred; they did not want development interfering with their traditional practices of hunting, gather­ing, and fishing and with their land-based spiritual­ity, despite the community economic and infra­structure poverty. In opposition, the province of Manitoba, which governs natural resources, favors mining and settler development and is unsupport­ive of traditional stewardship of the land. Mapping traditional land use enabled the exploration of the cultural and ecological dimensions of Wasagamack food over time and territory, providing an impor­tant tool for food researchers to explore food sovereignty, wild food access, and foodsheds.

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Author Biographies

Shirley Thompson, University of Manitoba

Associate Professor, Natural Resources Institute

Keshab Thapa, University of Manitoba

Ph.D. Student, Natural Resources Institute

Norah Whiteway, Wasagamack First Nation

Community Member

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Published
2019-12-17
How to Cite
Thompson, S., Thapa, K., & Whiteway, N. (2019). Sacred Harvest, Sacred Place: Mapping Harvesting Sites in Wasagamack First Nation. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 9(B), 251-279. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2019.09B.017
Section
Indigenous Food Sovereignty Peer-Reviewed Papers