Violence against land; violence against women: Gender considerations for Indigenous food sovereignty

Authors: Tabitha Martens*, University of Manitoba
Topics: Food Systems
Keywords: Indigenous food sovereignty; women; violence; land
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2020
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Tower Court D, Sheraton, IM Pei Tower, Second Floor Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Indigenous women are often referred to as life givers and presented through their connection to land and bodies and the maintenance of relationships. However, through colonialism, missionaries worked to provide new civilized domestic gender work roles for Indigenous girls and women. Over time, Indigenous communities adapted to (and also confronted) these new gender roles that changed Indigenous women’s relationships to their natural environments, most importantly to food. At the same time, Indigenous lands were treated as a commodity; resource extraction, become commonplace for reserve communities. This violence against the land ¬- a sacred and living entity critical to Indigenous ways of knowing, seeing, being, and doing - is mirrored by the violence Indigenous women experience both historically and currently. Today, Indigenous women are three times more likely than non-Indigenous women to become a victim of a violent crime. Indigenous food sovereignty can be a tool to advocate for the protection of women and calls for violence against women to end. Removing the structural barriers that create violence simultaneously encourages equality and benefits Indigenous women and the food systems. Women must feel safe to enact their original roles among their peoples by accessing the land and practicing their self-determined food cultures.

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