Wabanaki Health, Wellness & Self-Determination - Summer News 2016
REACH Wellness work leads with the premise that the solution to or wellness lies in our culture. We continue to put forth the idea of decolonization – or reclaiming traditional ways of knowing and being that were disrupted as a result of colonization.
When our homelands were colonized, it resulted in loss of territory and undermined traditional sustenance practices which served us exceedingly well for millennia. In addition to hunting and fishing, our ancestors practiced communal gardening, wild harvesting and gathering.
Decolonizing our diets and “food as medicine” has been an ongoing theme with REACH. This planting season, REACH completed two garden projects in the Passamaquoddy community at Sipayik learning as they worked on the “kkihkan” (garden).
Additionally, two community garden beds located outside the Pleasant Point Health Center were planted with edibles, herbs and flowers. The garden projects were done in collaboration with the AFSC Wabanaki Program.
In other planting news, REACH sends best wishes to Motahkmikuk (Indian Township) and we look forward to witnessing the expansion of their food pantry garden.
With technical support from REACH, Indian Township food pantry coordinator Janet Lola obtained grant funding from the Broad Reach fund of the Maine Community Foundation to build food security in Township and expand existing food pantry gardens.
In addition to outdoor gardens, a high-tunnel hoop house is being constructed. We look forward to the growth of this exciting food production initiative.
Although summer has just arrived, plans for the 3rd Annual Wabanaki Wellness Gathering are underway. This year the theme will be Food as Medicine / Decolonizing our Diets.
REACH believes in the ability of Wabanaki communities to work together to improve health and wellness by growing food, reconnecting to traditional food sources and medicines, and by reinstituting traditional barter and trade practices.
We will continue ongoing discussions on traditional foods and medicines, building tribal apothecaries, cooperatives, and more at the Gathering which is scheduled for October 10 and 11, 2016 location to be announced.