By Wendy Mills, Certified Master Gardener
Earlier this summer I participated in a study tour to explore the culture and traditions of Pueblo peoples of New Mexico. The First Nations Development Institute, a Denver-based non-profit, conducted the tour, which focused on native agriculture, community gardening projects and food sovereignty–the right of people to healthy, culturally appropriate, sustainably produced food. Across Indian Country, and with the support of groups like First Nations, a revival of agriculture and community gardening is taking place.
Pojoaque’s bison herd added a new member this spring. Bison meat is used for community feasts and meals.
Photo © 2017 Mark Habeeb
We visited farms and gardens in the northern New Mexico pueblos of Nambé, Pojoaque and Cochiti, as well as the city of Española. We attended a feast day at the Sandia Pueblo, where more than 200 people participated in traditional ceremonial dances, and community members opened their homes and fed everyone–family, friends and strangers alike. We also visited New Mexico State Senator Benny Shendo, Jr., one of a handful of Native Americans in the state legislature, and met high school students attending a summer leadership program who reflected on identity politics and the hard realities of contemporary Native American life. Continue reading