Sanjay Rawal


Renan Ozturk

Consulting Producer

Sterlin Harjo


Tanya Meiller


Production support


Though Europeans had regular contact with the West since the 1100s, the early 1600s marked a push to settle the Americas. The Europeans not only brought with them pests and disease – they brought a barbaric ambition hell-bent on resource extraction, land destruction and genocide. This battle for resources, wealth and the freedom to do with it what colonists wanted motivated the breakaway of the Thirteen Colonies into the formation of the United States. One thing continued to stand in the way of Manifest Destiny – the Native peoples, numbering in the millions, who were “occupying” Land meant for White supremacy.

Unable to best Natives through weaponry alone, Americans took to asymmetrical tactics – killing women and children, inducing famine and demoralizing warriors. The most effective of these tactics was the annihilation of food systems. This attempt at extermination motivated not only military policy but social and political policy. It is by design that Indian Country remains food insecure – dependent on the same ration system enacted to settle Natives adjacent to Military Forts, freeing their ancestral lands for unabated resource extraction.

Yet, due to the courage and resilience of Native American people, the ancestral knowledge of traditional food systems was never completely lost. Much of what Americans eat now – from tomatoes to potatoes to chocolate are all New World Crops – as are corn, beans, wild rice and quinoa. We are now witnessing a resurgence of interest amongst Natives to bring back their indigenous food ways to combat the severe health and economic disparities that have resulted from genocide.