Gitigaanike, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians

Website: https://www.4directionsdevelopment.com/

Point of Contact: Sharon James

E-Mail Address: sjames@redlakenation.org

Phone Number: 218-679-1460

The Red Lake Nation Gitigaanike Foods Initiative was created with the goals to decrease diet-related health issues, increase access to local healthy foods and develop a local foods economy. The Initiative incorporates community beliefs and attitudes about contemporary and traditional foods.  What started out as a "seed" project evolved into a full-fledged community Indigenous food sovereignty movement. The First Foods Initiative garden was established in 2016 at the preexisting greenhouse site in Redby, Minnesota. The Initiative includes the Project Grow which provides plowing, seeds/seedlings, gardening education, supplies for individual gardens, elder gardens, and raised garden beds. Included in the activities of the initiative are conducting outdoor food demonstrations of canning and bow and arrow making, and providing samples of smoked fish and hominy. Another goal of the initiative is to collect data to develop their definition of food sovereignty and to demonstrate the benefits of establishing a local food system on the Red Lake Reservation.  Maple Sugar Tapping is an age-old Anishinaabe tradition in order to make sugar, traditionally is was used as the primary "spice" to flavor meats, fish and vegetables. It was also the number one food commodity historically that was traded with other tribal nations. The Gitigaanike Food Initiative has grown to include one of the first ever Indigenous Food Summits. The Annual two-day summit features lectures on agricultural resources for farmers, food security, and indigenous ecological sustainability, among other topics.