Marquette symposium highlights Indigenous food sovereignty

One of many demonstrations focused on the building a bootagaan, a food mill used for corn and...
One of many demonstrations focused on the building a bootagaan, a food mill used for corn and wild rice. It is made using a yellow birch tree.(wluc)
Published: May. 22, 2022 at 3:26 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - The Intertribal Agriculture Council, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and center for Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University worked together over the weekend to raise awareness about Indigenous food sovereignty.

One of the demonstrators makes a traditional food mill for corn and wild rice. The bootagaan food mill was one of many demonstrations used to show how we can use nature around us to develop sustainable and healthy food practices.

Sunday was the final day of the food sovereignty symposium which took place over three days at parts of Northern Michigan University, Tourist Park in Marquette and the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community.

“Food sovereignty is life and life-sustaining, and it is really important for our communities and our people to really understand that food sovereignty is something we should all hold valuable and hold as a priority,” said Charlee Brisesette, a bootagaan demonstrator.

One of the organizers for the event says he is happy to have the event return to in-person after two years and see everyone’s smiling faces.

“We want to help people connect with like-minded people connect and to be inspired,” said Daniel Cornelius, the event organizer.

In addition to demonstrators, members of Northern Michigan University’s Dining Services also helped to provide kitchen space and prepare food.

“Seeing all the really amazing ways to cook say bison for instance, we’ve had grilled bison, smoked bison, braised bison and all of those different ways of cooking just that one ingredient really highlights the versatility of that one ingredient,” Alden Griffus executive chef at NMU Dining Services said.

Corneilius said he is grateful for the support of the community for helping make the event a success

“Thank you to Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Northern Michigan University and the whole area for welcoming everyone in this weekend,” Corneilius said.

With the event at a close, the symposium highlighted Indigenous sustainable food practices and brought the community together to celebrate Indigenous knowledge and teachings.

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