Recommended Reading, Listening, and Viewing
First Nations’ Native food policy expert A-dae Romero-Briones (Cochiti and Kiowa) shares this curated list of resources associated with the Nourishing Native Foods & Health program, starting with the “Q&A with A-dae.”
Q&A with A-dae
What is important for supporters to know about Native agriculture and food systems initiatives?
Indigenous people and their food systems are resilient. We have withstood assault and attempts to starve, change, and alter every facet of our food systems, whether it be through displacement of our lands, alteration of our natural spaces like water and soil, or prohibition from our natural gathering and hunting grounds. We continue to push for access and protection of our food systems because we inherently know that it’s for the benefit of humanity that we care for our foods.
What most inspires you about the work being done in Native communities related to Native agriculture and food systems?
There is an inherent understanding between people who work in the food space that food is a connection to our past, to our people, and to our lands that ensures we as Indigenous people exist and continue to exist. We don’t have to say it to one another. We don’t have to explain it. We just kind of know. When you meet an Indigenous person doing food work, they just give you that feeling, and it helps me continue to move past the barriers or problems and just get the work done. To Gather on. Fish on. Hunt on.
Could you share more about meaningful policy and other changes you have witnessed over the last 10 to 15 years that have made an impact in Native communities?
There are several I can think of. First is the resurgence of young Indigenous people who want to know and learn of their Indigenous lifeways, including food systems. It’s an institutional change where young people are calling to learn, to be taught, and to gain access to knowledge and skills that were once targeted for exclusion by federal policies such as boarding schools. The second is related to the first, but now we have a whole crew of savvy scientists, lawyers, doctors, nutritionists, teachers, and engineers who are using both their professional talents and their Indigenous talents to ensure that our food systems continue to function. They are creating new standards and new ways of viewing a bicameral system of federal policy and Indigenous world views. Lastly, there are a great many Indigenous people who dedicate their lives to learning the lifeways of their people and choose not to go to western universities. Without those individuals who choose to be the stewards of our homelands, we would be working without purpose.
A-dae Romero-Briones (Cochiti/Kiowa) is First Nations’ Native Agriculture & Food Systems Director of Programs. A U.S. Fulbright Scholar, A-dae earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Policy from Princeton University, a J.D. from Arizona State University, and an LL.M. in Food and Agricultural Law from the University of Arkansas. Her thesis was on the Food Safety Modernization Act as it applied to the federal tribal relationship. She writes extensively about the protection of tribal traditional foods.