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NAN Hosts 2013 Food Symposium

THUNDER BAY (Tuesday July 23, 2013): Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) is bringing together food actionists from across northern Ontario this week to discuss community-based solutions for the region’s food system challenges. The 4th annual NAN Food Symposium is taking place at the Best Western Nor’Wester Resort and Conference Centre in Thunder Bay.

“We have the right to have a sustainable, equitable, accessible and nutritious food system in place for the health of our current population and generations to come,” said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic, who provided opening remarks. “As the Aboriginal population continues to grow, so do the rates of obesity, heart disease and diabetes in our communities – as the availability of healthy food is poor. Now more than ever we must focus on reclaiming our food system and work together to ensure we have a unified vision for food sovereignty in NAN.”

The right to food for Indigenous peoples was recently promoted in a report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter, who in 2012 visited Canada to examine the state of food security and the way in which the human right to adequate food is being realized in Canada. In NAN territory, the high cost of food and transportation prevents NAN members from making healthy food choices, which in turn has a direct impact on their health. In addition, many families live on fixed incomes making access to nutritious foods even more limited. NAN has developed a Food Strategy which has been endorsed by NAN Chiefs-in-Assembly, aimed to enhance the quality of life through access to food that is safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate and affordable for all NAN communities.

“There is a high demand for healthy foods in our communities because we have a right to these foods like everyone else,” said Fort Albany Chief Rex Knapaysweet, who also provided opening remarks. “What our community members are doing here is such a great thing and I’m so proud to see this happening at the community level. They see an issue and they’re tackling it head on.”

The three-day NAN Food Symposium will include presentations from NAN delegates, round table discussions for participants, and hands-on workshops. Participants will also take part in the ‘Sharing Our Stories Film Festival’ at the Paramount Theatre to view short documentary films produced by Powerline Films, Thunderstone Pictures, and film students. In addition, the NAN Food Champion Awards will be handed out, (Youth, Adult and Community Initiative), during the community feast on Wednesday evening.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political territorial organization representing 49 First Nation communities in James Bay Treaty No. 9 and Ontario portions of Treaty No. 5 – an area covering two thirds of the province of Ontario in Canada.

For more information please contact: Amy Harris, Director of Communications – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (807) 625-4906 or cell (807) 252-2806 or by email [email protected]

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