Ashleigh Jeannette Thompson

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

Arizona, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10156

Approve Date

April 8, 2021

Project Title

Thompson, Ashleigh (Arizona, U. of) "Gender, Materiality, and Traditional Foodways: Red Lake Ojibwe Food Sovereignty from the 18th Century Forward"

In past anthropological studies, the role of Ojibwe women has been interpreted using western theories, which resulted in misinterpretations of the role of women in Ojibwe society. Although Indigenous theory has been incorporated into Indigenous archaeology, it is underutilized within anthropology broadly. Yet, incorporation of Indigenous ontology into theoretical approaches has enriched research and created relevancy for collaborating Indigenous communities. This project uses Nishnaabewin, or Ojibwe theory, as an interpretive lens to study food sovereignty of the Red Lake Ojibwe. Methodologically, the project blends Ojibwe methods, such as the oral tradition and experiential learning (e.g. participant observation), with the study of material culture. Prior to European colonization, Ojibwe women played a significant role in the majority of Ojibwe foodways, and as such, women controlled the economy. Thus, historically, Ojibwe women yielded great power in society. Since European colonization of the Great Lake region, however, Ojibwe gender roles have greatly transformed. This research seeks to address how gender roles around traditional foodways evolved since European contact in the 18th century and the impact materiality has on food sovereignty among the Red Lake Ojibwe, which has implications for health, sovereignty, and cultural revitalization for the Ojibwe and other Indigenous peoples.