The food sovereignty movement in Indian Country has been spurred by the hard work and dedication of reservation based community and nonprofit organizations and forward thinking tribal governments. All are looking to sustain and protect traditional food sources, control local food systems and improve community, nutrition, health and economies. Increasingly, these various groups within the food movement in Indian Country are examining how tribal policy and legislation can be used to change behaviors related to diet, health and economy and increase regulatory control over local food systems.
The organizing efforts of tribes and community groups bring to light several important questions about tribal food policy and legislative authority, including:
1) What is the history of law and policy in Native communities, especially related to food policy development?
2) What is food policy in Native communities?
3) Can we identify factors that may stimulate and stall food policy development and effectiveness in Native communities?
In this report, we attempt to address these questions and provide a greater understanding of tribal food policy development across Native communities. This report is not intended to be an extensive review of the legislative interaction between tribes and the federal government. Rather it is a starting point to further the conversation about the opportunities and challenges that Native nations may face when examining and enacting recent food policies.