2021 Harvard Pilgrim Well being Care Basis Wholesome Consuming Champion
The Eastern Woodlands Rematriation Collective was founded in 2017 by Alivia Moore, a Maine-based Penobscot, and two indigenous women from Massachusetts.
The collective serves in many ways the Abenaki, Maliseet, Mi’kmaq, Passamaquoddy, and Penobscot peoples in the United States and Canada. However, an essential part of their work is to preserve aboriginal agricultural practices, including building food sovereignty. A sovereign food system is when the people who produce, distribute, and eat the food also control the policies that operate the system. It is a pillar of contemporary indigenous liberation movements.
Rematriation is a global political, social and ecological movement led by indigenous women and two-spirit people. “Two-minds” refers to a person who identifies as both male and female spirits. The term is used by some indigenous peoples to describe their sexual, gender, and / or spiritual identity.
“Our relationship with the earth lies at the root of so many of our structures,” said Alivia Moore, describing the collective’s strategies for building indigenous self-sufficiency in the northeast. Made up of two ghosts, Moore lives in Newport and focuses most of his individual endeavors in his immediate surroundings.
“Most of what we do isn’t shared with outside communities,” said Moore. Every action the collective undertakes individually or collectively is about “centering, appreciating and elevating indigenous peoples”, regardless of whether it offers culturally appropriate grief counseling or helps people access whole, unprocessed, traditional ones To obtain groceries.
To build regional, intertribal relationships around food, the collective connects indigenous food producers and indigenous farm owners as well as non-indigenous private landowners to harvest, trade and transport seeds, trees, produce, fishing gear and other products throughout the northeast. The overarching methods used by collective members are based on agroecology, an agricultural system in which the well-being of the environment takes precedence over maximizing profits.
The collective also disseminates knowledge to the next generation and organizes apprenticeships and classes between local farms and young people in New England to teach traditional farming and farming practices. Last winter, they received funding from the Elmina B. Sewall Foundation to develop a school for children and families that includes education programs on agriculture and foraging.
“Our children are always with us,” said Moore, describing how young people always learn through hands-on experiences like conserving crops. The school “gives us time to slow down and give them space to sit and study and teach each other.”
The collective also manages the Wabanaki Community Herbal Apothecary, a decentralized library of raw and processed traditional medicines like sumac or rose hips. During the COVID-19 pandemic, they used the tribal network that traversed indigenous areas to provide food and pharmacy items to elders and families in need.
As part of a global effort to protect our environment from climate change, the work of the Eastern Woodlands Rematriation Collective to Restore Sustainable Agriculture is helping to build a future where the knowledge and skills of indigenous peoples are valued and women and two -Ghost leaders put back into historical roles – leadership.
Read about the three MOFGA Russell Libby Fellowship recipients in 2021
2021 Lee Auto Malls Community Farm Champion