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Anthropology Symposium: Emma Johnson

Monday, February 6, 2023 4:15pm to 5:45pm

3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

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"What is Tribal Food Sovereignty and Why Does it Matter?"

Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to access culturally appropriate nutritious food as defined through their own cultivation, tending, and harvesting practices. The western worldview places humans separate from Mother Earth, and because of this many people often have an immense disconnect from their surrounding environments, making it even more challenging for them to understand the importance of food sovereignty. It is because of this that we constantly overlook some of our greatest teachers – our plant relatives, many of which have been here since time immemorial. Indigenous Traditional Ecological and Cultural Knowledge (ITECK), paired with place-based and community-based learning, offers people a chance to better connect with the landscape they call home and develop a sense of belonging. I’ll provide an overview of projects, species, and places where a food sovereignty framework is weaving community together. It is only by building a relationship with our surrounding environments that we begin to understand how important it is for our personal health to truly know how to care for the land, which without question cares for us day after day.

Emma Johnson, a Cowlitz Tribal member, received her BA in Cultural Anthropology from Washington State University Vancouver. She is currently finishing her Master of Science in sociocultural anthropology at Portland State University, where she is also an instructor in the Indigenous Nations Studies Department. In this role, she focuses on Indigenous Traditional Ecological and Cultural Knowledge (ITECK) programming. Emma is extremely passionate about place-based education and connecting people to the landscape by introducing them to plant and animal relatives. She feels at home in the world of tribal food sovereignty and strives to support the reclamation and restoration of traditional foodways in Indian Country.

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