November 12th, 2020 Last Updated on: June 15th, 2022
The stunning documentary, Gather, follows four individuals as they share their experiences as natives and their plan to keep their culture alive while feeding and nourishing their communities. They are all in the midst of a cultural movement in hopes of reconnecting their Native communities to the somewhat lost heritage and ancient ways concerning food production and consumption. As Native identities struggle to remain in a land of continued oppression and invisibility, these four prove that there are still communities out there that are unshakeable and still stand in the wake of decades of historical suffering.
Listen to an interview with the team of Gather.
Recently PowWows.com had the opportunity to speak with the producer, director and Twila about the film! Watch our discussion:
“Gather is an intimate portrait of the growing movement amongst Native Americans to reclaim their spiritual, political, and culture identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide,” (Gather.Film).
What exactly is food sovereignty and why is it important to Native Americans?
“Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally-appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations,” (Nyeleni).
Native American paths to food sovereignty and sustainability are imperative to these communities. It empowers them to become independent of government and corporations that have historically oppressed their people. To be able to protect the land they live on and cause it to provide 100% of the communities’ needs is one of their absolute goals.
Image Credit: Renan Ozturk/Illumine via NYTimes
The individuals (click on their names to follow on Instagram) that the documentary follows along this journey include:
- Nephi Craig—White Mountain Apache Tribe
“Craig is an acclaimed chef and founder of the Native American Culinary Association, and is attempting to establish a first-of-its-kind indigenous café where Apache chefs prepare Apache grown produce for Apache diners.”
During a talk with the Young Farmers Conference, Craig states that his land is part of what is considered “Ground Zero” for American colonialism. The land is calorie rich, but unfortunately is considered a “food desert”. He also says that 70% of all foods consumed around the world originated by indie genius people in the Americas—which many people don’t realize.
He whips up a creation with ingredients from the native landscape to share with those in the audience, which is what he does best.
- Elsie Dubray—Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe
Dubray is the youngest of the bunch—at only 17-years old:
“She is taking a research project to the Regional Science Fair, analyzing the comparative health effects of eating a beef-based diet versus a traditional Lakota diet based on Buffalo.”
She fully believes that getting back to the basics will help Native communities become healthier and stronger, without relying on non-traditional foods.
- Sammy Gensaw—Yurok Tribe
Gensaw, who resides in Northern California, along with his group of friends, are fighting for the preservation of their river and access to food.
“Overfishing, dams and climate change have almost eliminated salmon populations vital to tribal food supplies and spiritual practices.”
Gensaw hopes to help protect the water by bringing awareness to the issue and taking on the government and big corporations that are on the other side.
- Twila Cassadore—San Carlos Apache
Cassadore has a vision: to help Native youth discover the delicacies of their land and to become independent food gatherers.
“Twila is a master forager, an elder and medicine woman of the San Carlos Apache tribe. Haunted by a childhood of abuse, Twila battled addiction until she discovered healing through her tribe's ancestral ways of harvesting and foraging.”
To learn more about this movement and to get to know these four amazing trailblazers, watch Gather—and pass it on to friends and family in order to spread the word.
Knowledge is power.
Gather is now available to stream on iTunes, Amazon, and Vimeo-on-Demand.
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