Food Sovereignty

Why Is Indigenous Food Sovereignty Important?: The Answers, Revealed

Hunger is an American problem. One in four Indigenous Americans faces food insecurity. 

There are many ways the country can combat this problem, and the country should perform all of them. One significant way is Indigenous food sovereignty. 

What is it, and what principles govern it? What are the health impacts of food sovereignty? How can activists and Indigenous communities go about working for sovereignty? 

Answer these questions and you can help with food justice for Indigenous people. Here is your quick guide. 

What Is Indigenous Food Sovereignty? 

Indigenous food sovereignty is the right for Indigenous people to determine food policies. It goes beyond merely growing their own food, though that is an important element. 

It involves practicing historical and traditional ways of producing food. Many Indigenous communities have adapted to their local climate.

They have found ways to grow and maintain their crops. Most of these ways are better for the environment than industrial methods. 

Some communities are reliant on major corporations to provide them food. Sovereignty involves letting Indigenous governments decide what they want to do for themselves. 

Four principles animate the history of Indigenous food production. The first is sacred sovereignty. Food is a gift, and growers must show their gratefulness by maintaining the earth. 

The second is participation. All individuals must help maintain food for generations to come. The third principle is self-determination. 

The fourth is policy. Food sovereignty is just one aspect of Indigenous policies.

In order to achieve it, communities must fight for other issues. Environmental sustainability and community development are especially important. 

Importance of Indigenous Food Sovereignty 

Food sovereignty for Indigenous people is essential for community health. The Indian Health Service states that diet-related conditions are leading causes of death. 

Many people consume high amounts of sodium, saturated fat, and processed ingredients. Food sovereignty will give them all-natural fruits and vegetables. 

It is also important for mental health. Many Indigenous communities report high stress and suicide levels. A 2017 meta-analysis of more than 40 studies found that being in the outdoors can ease stress and anxiety. 

Indigenous communities do not have to keep all of their food for themselves. They can sell it to their neighbors and local grocery stores. This gives them economic resources. 

How to Achieve Food Sovereignty 

Some communities have begun efforts with food sovereignty. Others are lagging behind. It will take time to achieve sovereignty, in large part because there are several steps to get there. 


Communities must organize themselves. Many peoples are fighting for recognition from the government. 

Once they have this, they need to start organizing. They need to resist contracts from major corporations that supply processed foods. They need to publicize their efforts so they can amass popular support. 

Indigenous people should lead movements on Indigenous issues. Non-Indigenous people can help.

They can stop buying from corporations that make bad deals with leaders. They can share articles and speeches written by Indigenous people.

They should avoid imposing themselves. But they should use their voices to create change. 

Each Indigenous community is different. They have their own means of food production and environmental conservation.

Activists should respect that. But different communities can pool their resources together and organize national movements. 


Some communities do not have educational resources about food production. They need to study their histories and reclaim their methods. 

A major reason why communities lack these resources is colonialism. The United States should come to terms with its racist history. The country should offer reparations to them, including by providing educational resources. 

Educational institutions that hold resources should give them to Indigenous leaders. Oral histories and testimonies are especially important. 

Once these resources have been found, leaders should disseminate them. They can make agriculture and food production components of the education system. Young people can learn how to plant, grow, and maintain crops. 

Non-Indigenous people can learn from these resources as well. Anyone who gets involved in food sovereignty should spend a long time studying them. 

They should get resources from Indigenous-led organizations.


It is hard to tend to desecrated land. Activists should engage in several efforts to help the environment. 

They should resist projects like pipelines that pose a risk to soil, air, and water. Government bodies should respect treaties with tribes. They should avoid imposing laws on their lands. 

Activists in environmental communities should spend time studying Indigenous issues in particular. Many use globalizing terms, but Indigenous communities face their own problems. They should start with ones located near them, then work outward across the country. 

Many communities are opening their doors to tourists. This gives them an opportunity to learn about farming and ranching practices.

But tourists must respect the land they are on. They should follow the guidance of Indigenous farmers. They should avoid littering or damaging natural resources, including waterways. 

Work for Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Indigenous food sovereignty is all about empowerment. It allows local communities to decide for themselves what to eat and how to grow it. It respects Indigenous religious, historic, and cultural practices. 

It is essential to reduce the high rates of starvation and diet-related diseases. It can go a long way toward helping with mental health. 

But sovereignty isn’t easy. It requires activism at the local level, including from non-Indigenous people. Educational resources must be preserved and the environment must be respected. 

Yet you can help, once you read more. Follow our coverage for more activism and environmental guides. 

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