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About Us

Who are we and what do we do?

Indigenous Peoples of Canada

In a place where biological and cultural diversity lends itself well to tremendous localized abundance of traditional foods, Indigenous peoples throughout what is now known as the Dominion of Canada have developed distinct cultures based on traditional harvesting strategies including: hunting, fishing, gathering and cultivating culturally important plants and animals in our respective traditional territories. Our traditional territories (98 nations in total) in large part are defined by the major geographic regions and our cultures are defined by 11 major language groups.

Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty

The Working Group on Indigenous Food Sovereignty (WGIFS) was born in March of 2006 out of a recognized need to carry the Indigenous voice in the various meetings, conferences and discussions that have taken place within the food security movement. Through participation in the B.C. Food Systems Network Annual Gathering and strategic planning meetings, the WGIFS was created for the purpose of increasing awareness of the underlying issues, concerns and strategies impacting food security in Indigenous communities. The WGIFS seeks to apply culturally appropriate protocols and ancient ways of knowing through a consensus-based approach to critically analyzing issues, concerns and strategies as they relate to Indigenous food, land, culture, health, economics, and sustainability.

The WGIFS consists of members who provide input and leadership on ways to increase awareness and mobilize communities around the topic of Indigenous food sovereignty. The WGIFS strives to ensure Indigenous voices are carried from a strong and balanced representation and currently consists of participants from key communities and groups (listed below) in each of the major regions around the province of B.C. The working group is inclusive of non-Indigenous advocates from settler communities and promotes cross cultural participation that is representative and balanced based on geography, community group and cultures.

  • Traditional harvesters (including hunters, fishers and gatherers)
  • Farmers/gardeners
  • Aboriginal community members (on/off reserve, urban/rural)
  • Academics/Researchers
  • Civil Society Organizations (CSO’s)
  • Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s)
  • Political Advocates
  • …and others

Indigenous Food Systems Network

The WGIFS facilitates relationship building by organizing the time and space for regular meetings and discussions to better understand each other and our unique relationship to Indigenous land and food systems. Through the leadership provided by the WGIFS and the administrative support provided by the BCFSN and other project partners, a rapidly expanding Indigenous Food Systems Network (IFSN) has been born.

The Indigenous Food Systems Network Website was developed by the WGIFS to allow individuals and groups involved with Indigenous food related action, research, and policy reform to network and share relevant resources and information. For more information on how to upload and share resources on our website visit our help page.

In addition, the WGIFS hosts the Indigenous Food Sovereignty email listserve that helps to build capacity within communities. If you are interested, you can subscribe to the IFS listserv. Through electronic communication we share information and link individuals, communities, and regional, provincial, national and international networks.