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A canal constructed by the Pima-Maricopa Irrigation Project
On March 1-2, 2018, NNI Associate Director Stephanie Carroll Rainie (Ahtna Athabascan) and NNI Research Analyst Mary Beth Jäger (Citizen Potawatomi) attended the inaugural meeting of The Indigenous Foods Knowledge Network, which was hosted by the Gila River Indian Community. The Network, funded by the National Science Foundation, aims to connect food sovereignty, tribal data sovereignty, and Indigenous knowledge experts from the Southwest and Arctic to create a “network of networks.” Twenty-three Indigenous community leaders and scholars from the Southwest and Arctic participated in the meeting.
The first day of the meeting was devoted to participants getting to know each other and a field trip, which gave network participants an opportunity to learn about the Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) Water Rights Settlement and to view the tribe’s water distribution system, which is based on the ancient Hohokam canal system. On the second day, participants first debriefed the field trip, centering their discussion on the ways GRIC’s reclaimed water can support traditional agriculture and renew riparian areas. Discussion then turned to network development. The goal for the future is to grow the network under Indigenous community direction and to support young Indigenous scholars through in person and online meetings and other means of communication and information-sharing. “Listening to participants and seeing what is happening at Gila River, I’m looking to participating in this network and seeing where it goes,” said Jäger. “Look for network updates in future e-blasts.”
A sign at the Huhugam Heritage Center