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FSRG talk – An Offering: Lakota Elders Contributions to the Future of Food Security

February 19, 2019 — 

The next Food Systems Research Group seminar takes place on February 27th. We invite you to join us and be a part of the discussion.

Our winter FSRG research knowledge sharing series continues with the seminar “An Offering: Lakota Elders Contributions to the Future of Food Security” by Dr. Mary Kate Dennis, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Social Work. Join us Wednesday, February 27th at 3:00 pm in 409 Tier Building. 


Food security in American Indian communities is understudied and often viewed through a deficiency model when the narrative is shaped by non-Indigenous voices, examining the food system and diet through the lens of poverty or through a historic lens narrowly focused on the dwindling traditional food source. To address this gap in scholarship, a qualitative study explored the narratives related to food and food production with 25 Lakota elders living on the Pine Ridge Indian reservation. Findings derived via thematic analysis illustrate the experiences of the elders across their lifespans including their early beginnings on the family homestead, gardening and food preservation throughout their adulthoods. Implications include programming that would transmit the cultural and traditional knowledge of gardening between generations which leads to learning skills, cultural lifeways, and community health implications.


Mary Kate Dennis is an Assistant Professor in the Master of Social Work based in Indigenous Knowledges Program in the Faculty of Social Work. Mary Kate is Athabaskan and her research uses Indigenous methodologies and focuses on elders living on reservations where they shared knowledge related to their lives including food sovereignty; land tenure and removal from their lands; and loss and grief.  She incorporates environmental and food justice in her social work courses and developed and teaches a course at the University of Michigan titled “Food Justice or Community Practice, Food Systems and Social Justice.”


Each month during the regular session we will hold a presentation and discussion session so that as a research community we can learn from each other about the breadth and diversity of food systems research happening across our campus. The location of the session will vary depending on the host Faculty. The session consists of a 30-minute presentation followed by 30 minutes of discussion which will begin at 3:00 unless otherwise noted.


  • Mar 27 – Protecting Canada’s crops using next-generation molecular fungicides– Mark Belmonte, Associate Professor, Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science (205 Armes)


The Food Systems Research Group – a joint initiative by Agriculture, Environment, Science, and Arts Faculties – is an umbrella group fostering the creation of multi/trans-disciplinary collaborative research to advance the UofM signature research theme of Safe, Healthy, Just, and Sustainable Food Systems.

Faculty and students are welcome to join the FSRG. Email foodsystems [at] umanitoba [dot] ca to join our mailing list to be informed of future events and activities of this diverse group.

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