“The government of Canada is telling Inuit what to eat”: putting contemporary discourses of food security in historical context - Nicole Gombay
3:00 PM, Friday 4 Oct 2019 (30 minutes)
Sainte-Catherine Pavilion (V) - V-1410
In 2018, when talking about updates to the federal Nutrition North programme, Natan Obed, the President of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, stated that, “the Government of Canada is telling Inuit what to eat”. A response to widespread concerns about their food insecurity, Nutrition North is designed to give subsidies to Northerners so as to improve their access to perishable, “nutritious food”.
This paper problematizes how ‘food security’ has been formulated in Canada, so that how it can be conceived of and responded to conceals part of what contributed to its coming into being. Using official publications dating from the early 20th Century, I explore the governmental deconstruction and reconstruction of the complex set of beliefs and behaviours that are at the heart of Inuit food systems. I explore how ideas of food security come to be conceptualised in such a way as to overlook the role of settler-colonial states and populations in producing many of the material and conceptual conditions that give rise to the food insecurity of Inuit in the first place.