Indigenous Wellbeing Philosophies Linked to Regenerative Food Systems

Mariaelena Huambachano - IIRC20
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Indigenous knowledge has been recognised within development since, at least the 1980s, for example, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) highlights the significance of local solutions — not least, those embedded in traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) — for global sustainable development. Yet Indigenous philosophies have had little uptake within mainstream food and environmental policy in charting development grounded in Indigenous knowledge and self-determination. This study explored how Indigenous philosophies of wellbeing in Aotearoa, New Zealand, referred to as Mauri Ora and Allin Kawsay or Buen Vivir in Peru conceptualise nourishment and food security in the face of contemporary global challenges such as climate change and the COVID- 19 health crisis. This study demonstrates how Indigenous philosophies of Mauri Ora and Allin Kawsay are heralding a sustainable and equitable wellbeing model grounded on a holistic rights-based approach of Mother Earth for Living well. In particular, this study elicits teachings from Māori and Quechua peoples’ traditions about sustainable use of the natural resources available on the Land – Mother Earth and managed according to sustainability principles. For example, principles of manaakitanga (hospitality), kaitakitanga (socio-environmental trusteeship), ayni (reciprocity in Quechua), ayllu (self-governance in Quechua), and the application and transmission of ancestral TEK to promote human and non-human flourishing. In doing so, Quechua and Māori people are restoring Indigenous food sovereignty, cultural knowledge, and environmental health today. This study concludes that food can play a fundamental role in asserting collective self-determination, for moving beyond colonial approaches to food, and ultimately for pursuing environmental justice.