The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) & Food Security in Nunavut

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  • The United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
    and Food Security

    The Minister of Indigenous Affairs is concerned that Canada’s adoption the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) is “without qualification, as Canada’s obligations to fulfil UNDRIP include free, prior and informed consent” (Fontaine, 2016, para. 2).

    Many Indigenous communities cannot hunt and harvest for their traditional sources of food owing to the destruction of their eco-systems from corporate resource extraction that is sanctioned by the government. Indigenous Peoples’ food insecurity is exacerbated by the extremely high food prices in isolated grocery stores. In Marie Battiste’s Nourishing the Learning Spirit (NLS) she discusses the community spirit of Indigenous peoples is nourished through reclaiming their right to control their sources of food traditionally as promised in the UNDRIP. Indigenous research engages Indigenous persons as investigators to extend their knowledge across diverse Indigenous communities.
    In Marie Battiste's Nourishing the Learning Spirit text, she chronicles how the Mi'kmaq parents collectively developed Indigenous language classes in their children’s schools.

    Similarly, some Indigenous peoples regained their food security through First Nations Growers (FNG) which empowers Indigenous communities to harvest their own nutritious food. FNG provides First Nation and Inuit communities with affordable year-round gardens to grow produce, herbs and traditional medicines. Each community garden farm is owned by the Indigenous community and operated providing fresh foods and jobs even in the most remote communities.
    This empowers First Nations & Inuit communities into becoming world leaders in the holistic approach to year round, indoor, organic gardening across Canada and globally to address world hunger. FNG provides First Nation and Inuit communities with on-line workshops, and hands on growing of vegetables and fruit based on research. Unfortunately, barriers to accessing traditional foods & contributing to higher food prices persist and include: Northern First Nations rely on 1 non locally owned food store carrying fresh, perishable items. This store is part of a chain that has a monopoly in the region.
    Higher transportation and fuel costs.
    Higher heating, cooling, lighting, and building maintenance expenses increase food costs. Complex food distribution with longer, less frequently traveled routes also increase costs. Maximum capacity for weight and mass on airplanes limits volume purchases. There is a greater risk of damage to perishables during the long transport, resulting in the unreliable availability of foods due to weather and unforeseen circumstances (FSC, 2016, p. 11). Therefore, the Criticism of First Nations Growers & Nutrition North includes hydroponically grown produce in Nunavut requires massive irrigation of safe drinking water which is unavailable.
    Providing safe tap water from a Public-Private-Nonprofit is economically unfeasible.
    Traditional Indigenous farming in Nunavut requires the Traditional Knowledge of Indigenous Elders.
    Nunavut land preservation by self-government to restore fish and marine wildlife is a better solution for long term sustainability and food security.
    Nutrition North subsidies need to be paid directly to the residents of Nunavut instead of grocers who are out to make a profit. More local food banks and community kitchens can also empower Nunavut residents to feed themselves locally. Nunavut residents spend up to $600 a week for food frozen chicken strips cost $32, bacon $19, four-pound frozen pork roast over $30 and $200 for a turkey! Government policy-makers and retailers must find better ways lower the cost of food (Nutrition North Canada [NNC] is not doing enough). This research reveals realistic healthy options from the grassroots level.

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    Conference/Workshop Presentation
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    Attribution 4.0 International