Growing food for healthy communities in Indian Country
Kelsey Ducheneaux is natural resources director with the Intertribal Agriculture Council in Eagle Butte, SD–and she’s a fourth generation regenerative beef cattle rancher. We talk about the strengths and traditions of native food producers, the many challenges of producing food in the current financial system, and the ways that agriculture can heal land and people.
0’54 regenerative agriculture and land stewardship as part of Lakota tradition
3’17 cultivating and eating indigenous foods from the local ecosystem
5’41 relationship between grazing and land health
7’36 differences and similarities between bison and cows in their effect on the land
8’05 current bison are descended from the wildest bison because the tamer ones were all killed
9’27 cattle don’t tend to graze in a herd as much as bison…the importance of reinstating herd instinct in cattle
12’37 getting cattle used to being around people and moving in groups without stress
13’12 on her ranch they don’t take heifer calves away from their mothers
16’12 the problem of extractive financial models in Indian country
16’39 exploitation of previous generations with high interest rates
17’41 the continual need to sell every animal to pay bank debts, even if it’s not best for the ranch
19’38 food produced on Indian land isn’t staying there
22’03 ongoing debt inhibits investment in infrastructure
22’32 what better lending practices would look like
27’45 capitalism is a tool, but it tends toward unlimited growth, how does that work on with the limitations of land
28’39 the “feeding the world” lie
30’24 producers are not working at full capacity, so growth is possible
32’30 disconnect between banking and living systems
38’22 youth wanting to go into agriculture
42’30 addressing historical trauma with agriculture
45’09 healing of land and healing of people very similar
49’16 seeing ourselves as part of a cycle rather than the manager of an input-output system
51’00 breaking cycles of pesticides and other inputs
52’12 the annual conference
52’57 connecting tribal sovereignty with food sovereignty
55’04 women in ranching in Lakota country
Camas Davis had what she calls an “early onset midlife crisis” when she was around 30–and it led her to study butchering in France. But when she came home she found that the market for good, local meat needed to be cultivated.
Jovan Sage carries on traditions passed down from African and Indigenous ancestors, and is a healer on many levels–herbalist, “food alchemist,” farmer, chef, and community organizer.
Sanjay Rawal‘s new film, Gather, explores how Native Americans across the U.S. are rediscovering their food traditions–and building on them in the context of present-day realities.