We’re trying to create a world with sustainable First Nation communities and a healthy environment. So, we help First Nations address the environmental issues they face. Since CIER began nearly 20 ago, we’ve worked on over 450 environment-focused projects with over 300 First Nations across Canada. We’re still the first and only First Nation national, environmental non-profit organization with charitable status in Canada.
Why We Created Iff
Indigenous food security is a part of our vision of sustainable First Nation communities and a healthy environment. Plus, it’s critical to indigenous wellbeing.
We have food security “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”1. For First Nations in Canada, sufficient, safe and nutritious food includes indigenous food – food that’s hunted, fished or gathered by community people and has been staple to their diet for generations.
Why Indigenous Foods are Good for You
- Much more nutritious than processed foods
- Keep you active because they need to be harvested and processed
- Connect you to your family – gathering and eating the foods of your ancestors, is something fun to do together with your family
- Connect you to your culture – First Nations culture is tied to indigenous foods through language, stories, knowledge of the land, harvesting and preparation, and use in gatherings and ceremonies
Indigenous Food Systems are at Risk!
Some First Nations people eat less indigenous foods now for all kinds of reasons, like:
- Not having access to traditional lands
- Living in urban areas
- Destructive human activities like resource development (e.g. contamination, pollution, habitat destruction) to the lands that support these foods
Eating less indigenous foods can lead to a decrease in your health and wellbeing. The less indigenous foods we eat, the more we’re in danger of losing the unique and incredible indigenous knowledge tied to these food systems.
Let’s Make the Connection
Land and water provide us with food, but they’re under constant stress, and we’re part of the cause. We all need to pay more attention to the facts:
- We subject Mother Earth to changes from natural resources development and extraction to overconsumption to urban sprawl
- These changes threaten our access to good quality indigenous foods now and in the future
Youth Need Tools to Make Change!
First Nations youth are key to ensuring indigenous food security for First Nations peoples. They’re the fastest growing segment of the Canadian population – the current and future leaders, mentors, advisors and makers-of-change in their communities and throughout Canada.CIER recognizes that leaders need tools to help them reach their goals. We created iffculture.ca to help youth create positive change in their communities!
1 World Health Organization. “Food Security.”