Learning from our Kogums (Grandmothers): Integrating Participatory Video as a Tool to Share Knowledge through OPCNs Ithinto Mechisowin Program
Hydroelectric dams are hallmarks of colonization in Canada, as they destroy food sources, homeland, habitation, and natural resources of Indigenous peoples. O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation (OPCN), an Indigenous community in northern Manitoba, Canada, was flooded and forced to relocate from ancestral lands to a nearby settlement under such circumstances. Regaining strength from their inherent cultural values grounded in their relationship with the land, OPCN eventually formed a community-based food program called Ithinto Mechisowin Program (IMP) ('food from the land'). This proposed research project intends to use participatory video methods to collect stories from community members for IMP to gain a nuanced understanding of Indigenous food systems in Canada. The project will teach participatory video to community members so that they can lead the program activities. The project will inspire reconnection with land by archiving stories and recipes related to traditional food and thereby improving access to culturally appropriate healthy food to achieve Indigenous food sovereignty, a common goal for both the community and the partner organizations which is Aboriginal Economic Development by demonstrating what is possible, and encouraging community members, and other communities to begin to take steps to strengthen their own food related economies, health and cultural integration.