The Kalispel Tribe of Indian’s Contemporary Usage of Traditional Foodways
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AbstractNative American traditional foodways serve as one of the most important resources for indigenous communities because these resources provide a variety of non-physical cultural assets and health benefits to Native groups through the medium of food. The demolition of North America’s foodways through colonization has had adverse effects on indigenous communities ranging from chronic diseases to a breakdown of cultural practices and societal cohesion. This study looks to understand how the people of the Kalispel Tribe interact with their traditional foodways through a series of survey questions and ethnographic interviews to ascertain the importance of traditional food resources to a tribe in a modern context. The Kalispel Tribe has a reservation on the Pend Oreille River and consists of 457 enrolled members and additional unenrolled community members. The survey generated 25 responses and three informants provided ethnographic interviews. Like many tribes, the traditional foods of the Kalispel remain a key part of tribal life and have associated meanings and values that relate to the biological, societal, and cultural health of the community. Insuring the viability of traditional foodways and their beneficial properties represents a way for the Kalispel and other indigenous communities to combat food insecurity and practice self-determination through food sovereignty.