Food Sovereignty Practices at the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Tsyunhehkw^ Farm

The Three Sisters, Ceremony and Community


Abstract

The paper looks at the role of traditional foodways and related cultural practices in Oneida’s contemporary food sovereignty efforts, and the various understandings of the continuity of food and agricultural traditions in the community. The tribe’s Tsyunhehkw^’s (joon-hen-kwa) farm, whose name loosely translates into “life sustenance” in English, serves important cultural, economic and educational purposes. It grows Oneida white flint corn, which is considered sacred by the tribe and is used for ceremonial purposes, it grows the tobacco used for ceremonies and runs a traditional Three Sisters Garden. The Three Sisters – corn, beans and squash, are an important part of the Oneida creation story, as well as the vision of Handsome Lake – a Seneca prophet from the turn of the 19th century, who played an significant role in the revival of traditional religion among the People of the Longhouse.[1] They inform the work done at Tsyunhehkw^ to provide healthful food for the Oneida community.


[1]The Oneida form part of the Iroquois Confederacy (as called by the French), referred to as the League of Five Nations by the English, or the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, as they call themselves. Haudenosaunee translates into the People of the Longhouse. The Confederacy, which was founded by the prophet known as Peacemaker with the help of Hiawatha, is made up of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, and Senecas. It was intended as a way to unite the nations and create a peaceful means of decision making. The exact date of the joining of the nations is unknown and it is one of the first and longest lasting participatory democracies in the world (“About the Haudenosaunee Confederacy” 2019).


Keywords

Indigenous food sovereignty; Oneida Nation; Cultural revival; Oneida Nation of Wisconsin

“About the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.” Haudenosaunee Confederacy, 2019, www.haudenosauneeconfederacy.com/who-we-are.

Blue Bird Jernigan, Valarie, Eva Garroutte, Elizabeth M. Krantz, and Dedra Buchwald. “Food Insecurity and Obesity among American Indians and Alaska Natives and Whites in California.” Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition, vol. 8, no. 4, 2013, pp. 458–71, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4746017/#R3

Bye, Breann Ashliee Leann. Native Food Systems Organizations: Strengthening Sovereignty and

(Re)building Community. 2009. Iowa State U. Master’s Thesis, lib.dr.iastate.edu/etd

Cornelius, Carol. “Forces that Impacted Oneida’s Move to Wisconsin.” Paper presented at the Oneida History Conference, June 1998, Oneida’s Cultural Heritage, no. 13, edited by Judi Jourdan.

“Creation Story As told by Amos Christjohn.” Oneida Nation, oneida-nsn.gov/our-ways/our-story/creation-story.

Declaration of Atitlán. Indigenous Peoples’ Global Consultation on the Right to Food, Atitlán, Sololá, Guatemala, April 17–19, 2002. cdn5.iitc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/FINAL_Atitlan-Declaration-Food-Security_Apr25_ENGL.pdf

“Foodways.” Encyclopedia of Food and Culture. Encyclopedia.com. 14 June 2019, www.encyclopedia.com/food/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/foodways

Hoover, Elizabeth. “’You Can’t Say You’re Sovereign if You Can’t Feed Yourself:’ Defining and Enacting Food Sovereignty in American Indian Community Gardening.” American Indian Culture and Research Journal, vol. 41, no. 3, 2017, pp. 31-70.

Hoover, Elizabeth. From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds. gardenwarriorsgoodseeds.com.

Kruk-Buchowska, Zuzanna. Negotiating Native American Identities: The Role of Tradition, Narrative and Language at Haskell Indian Nations University. Wydawnictwo Naukowe UAM, 2016.

Kruk-Buchowska. “Transnationalism as a Decolonizing Strategy? ‘Trans-Indigenism’ and Indigenous Food Sovereignty.” Studia Anglica Posnaniensia. vol. 53, no. 2, Dec. 2018, pp. 413-23.

LaDuke, Winona and Sarah Alexander. Food is Medicine: Recovering Traditional Foods to Heal the People. Honor the Earth, 2004.

LaDuke, Winona. Recovering the Sacred: The Power of Naming and Claiming. Between the Lines, 2005.

Loew, Patty. Indian Nations of Wisconsin: Histories of Endurance and Renewal, 2nd edition. 2013, Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

Metoxen, Jeff. 2018. “Tsyunhehkw^.” www.cias.wisc.edu/curriculum-new/files/mod-ii/secb/Tsyunhehkwa2.pdf

Metoxen, Jeff. 2016. Personal interview.

Mihesuah, Devon A. “Decolonizing Our Diets by Recovering our Ancestors’ Gardens.” American Indian Quarterly, vol. 27, no. 3/4, 2003, pp. 807-39.

Milburn, Michael. “Indigenous Nutrition: Using Traditional Food Knowledge to Solve Contemporary Health Problems”, American Indian Quarterly, vol. 28, no. 3/4, 2004, pp. 411-34.

Nakata, Martin. “The rights and blights of the politics in Indigenous higher education.”

Anthropological Forum, vol. 23, no. 3, 2013, pp. 289–303.

“Rome Declaration on World Food Security”. 1996, www.fao.org/docrep/003/w3613e/w3613e00.htm

“The International Peasants’ Voice.” La Via Campesina, viacampesina.org/en/international-peasants-voice/

Tiro, Karim M. The People of the Standing Stone: The Oneida Nation from the Revolution Through the Era of Removal. University of Massachussetts Press, 2011.

Wall Kimmerer, Robin. Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Milkweed Editions, 2013.

Wisneski, Kyle. 2016. Personal interview.


Published : 2019-09-08


Kruk-BuchowskaZ. (2019). Food Sovereignty Practices at the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin Tsyunhehkw^ Farm. Review of International American Studies, 12(1), 111-128. https://doi.org/10.31261/rias.7561

Zuzanna Kruk-Buchowska  zuzana@wa.amu.edu.pl
Adam Mickiewicz University  Poland




Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

The Copyright Holder of the submitted text is the Author. The Reader is granted the rights to use the material available in the RIAS websites and pdf documents under the provisions of the Creative CommonsAttribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-SA 4.0). Any commercial use requires separate written agreement with the Author and a proper credit line indicating the source of the original publication in RIAS.