The Bear, the Fish, the Root, and the Berry


Tatiana Nozaki

LARC 505

Yupiks, the indigenous community of Alaska, have no word for biodiversity. Its closest approximation means food. Nl’aka’pamux, the Indigenous people of Alberta never thought of the Stein Valley as wilderness, they say ‘That’s our pantry.’ Similarly, the Okaganan Nation that once occupied a territory crossing the international border between Canada and the US, see the landscape as intrinsically tied to their livelihood and survival. And their food systems are deeply rooted in territory. This project recognizes the network of reciprocity between humans and landscape and humans and other beings, particularly present in indigenous communities. It challenges the notion that the best way to protect a thriving natural ecosystem is leave those communities alone, with as little human intervention as possible. Within this scheme, food operates as the main network of reciprocity. Thus, food sovereignty is the collective goal of the proposed Internationally Protected Area, which questions the political boundaries that were once superimposed in pre-colonial patterns of settlement dictated by food, encompassing the traditional territory of the Okanagan Nation. The goal of food sovereignty is guided by the Okanagan Nation’s Four Food Chiefs and aims for the return these chiefs to their historic range.