Indigenous communities have been sustained by thousands of years of food knowledge. But recent federal food safety rules could cripple those traditional systems and prevent the growth of agricultural economies in Indian Country, according to advocates and attorneys. Of the 567 tribal nations in the United States, only a handful have adopted laws that address food production and processing. Without functioning laws around food, tribes engaged in anything from farming to food handling and animal health are ceding power to state and federal authorities.
To protect tribal food systems, those advocates and attorneys are taking the law into their own hands, literally, by writing comprehensive food codes that can be adopted by tribes and used to effectively circumvent federal food safety codes. Because tribes retain sovereignty—complicated and sometimes limited though it may be—they can assert an equal right with the federal government to establish regulations for food handling.
Food codes and laws are basic legislation governing agriculture and food processing. Food codes are good things: They are designed to protect consumers from products that could make them sick or even kill them, as with a national salmonella outbreak linked to peanut butter in 2008, and, more recently, E. Coli outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants in 11 states.
Since 2011, food laws have become tougher, thanks to the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the first major rewrite of U.S. food-safety laws in more than 50 years. Under FSMA, producers must take into account everything from the packaging and refrigeration of products to how crops are grown, all in the name of safety. These safety controls raise interesting questions in Indian Country.
The Mountie response to the MMIWG report has been to acknowledge reconciliation “is not a single event or action,” to highlight training initiatives — including a “Cultural Awareness and Humility course” currently in the works — and to say it continues to study the report and will give “careful consideration to change.” And yet, it already feels like more of the same.
Canada’s first prime minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, got the idea for the Mounties from the Royal Irish Constabulary, a paramilitary police force the British created to keep the Irish under control.
There was no coast-to-coast railway yet, and the ink was barely dry on Canada’s purchase of Western Canada from the Hudson’s Bay Company, an acquisition that paved the way for western settlement. Macdonald envisioned his own Royal Irish Constabulary, says Steve Hewitt, a senior history lecturer at the University of Birmingham and author of three books about the RCMP’s history — except instead of the Irish, they would control the Indigenous people already living on the land.
Although the North-West Mounted Police didn’t become the RCMP proper until it absorbed the Dominion Police in 1920, its paramilitary origins are still highly visible in everything from its training depot to how it organizes its officers into troops, right down to the horse and the uniform, Hewitt says.
And while Canadians may like to position ourselves in opposition to the United States, citing their “even worse record in terms of treatment of Indigenous people,” Hewitt says that’s just a myth we tell ourselves to feel better.
The job of the Mounties “effectively, was to clear the plains, the Prairies, of Indigenous people,” he says. “Ultimately, they were there to displace Indigenous people, to move them onto reserves whether they were willing to go or not.”
History books, commissions, inquiries and public apologies reveal what happened next: Indigenous people who resisted were starved onto reserves. The federal government brought in the Indian Act and used Mounties to forcibly remove Indigenous children from their homes, placing them in residential schools rife with abuse.
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Mexico's Minister of Culture called out fashion brand Carolina Herrera for appropriating embroidery techniques and patterns specific to Mexican indigenous communities.
In a letter sent to the brand Monday, Frausto cited a Saltillo serape pattern and embroidery belonging to communities from Tenango de Doria and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, and requested, per NBC News, that the brand “publicly explain on what basis it decided to make use of these cultural elements, whose origins are documented, and how this benefits the (Mexican) communities.”
The Senate's Aboriginal peoples committee has passed a bill that will implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in Canada — over the objections of Conservative senators who say they fear adopting the legislation will give Indigenous peoples a veto over future natural resource development.
The legislation, introduced as a private member's bill by NDP MP Roméo Saganash, will now go back to the Senate chamber for the last legislative phase of debate and a final vote.
During this morning's raucous committee meeting, Conservative senators accused committee chair Liberal Sen. Lillian Dyck of — with the support of Independent senators — unfairly "railroading" opposition to the legislation by refusing to allow some Tory senators to fully speak to their concerns.
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