Healthy Roots: Building capacity through shared stories rooted in Haudenosaunee knowledge to promote Indigenous foodways and well-being

  • Kelly Gordon Six Nations Health Services
  • Adrianne Lickers Xavier Royal Roads University
  • Hannah Tait Neufeld The University of Guelph
Keywords: Indigenous foodways, Haudenosaunee food guide, Healthy Roots, Indigenous community programs, Indigenous well-being


Urban and reserve-based First Nation families in southern Ontario frequently experience food insecurity as well as more limited access to traditional, more nutrient dense foods from the local environment. Healthy Roots was initiated in the community of Six Nations to promote traditional food consumption. A small number of participants eating only locally available foods reported better-controlled blood glucose, positive weight change and increased traditional food knowledge. New relationships and partnerships were also developed. Our Sustenance, a community organization that was responsible for the local farmers market, community gardens, good food box program, and other community programs, joined the Healthy Roots Committee to continue advancing the knowledge and activation of the community-based initiatives such as the development of a Haudenosaunee Food Guide. Healthy Roots may serve as a model and inspiration to other Indigenous communities looking to reconnect to their local environments and Indigenous lifeways to promote Indigenous foodways and well-being.

Field Report or Narrative