Race Series: Nurturing the Environment and Food Access RECAP

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On Saturday, June 16, about 60 community members gathered at West Seattle’s beautiful Camp Long for DNDA’s 5th event of the Let’s Talk Race Series: Nurturing the Environment and Food Access. The day began as guests walked through a timeline path that demonstrated how colonialism, slavery, the Doctrine of Discovery, and other historic events have shaped who owns and controls the land. This led participants to a meadow in which they were able to reflect with one another and interact with representatives of the Delridge Grocery Co-op, West Seattle Food Bank, High Point CSA, Little Red Hen Project, and Roots of All Roads.

Native storyteller Nahaan opened the official program with some words in Tlingit and a story illustrating how wealth comes from what you give away. The facilitators, Nat Mengist and Lucia Santos, arranged the group into two concentric circles, with pairs of chairs facing each other, and facilitated a rotating question and answer activity that allowed guests to meet and speak of their own experiences in the form of “courageous conversations.” The questions included, “What’s one word to describe your relationship to food?” and “What is your first memory of nature?” Following this activity, the Náakw dance group, led by Nahaan, performed Tlingit dances including drumming, singing and a chance for audience members to chime in.

After a break for reflective conversation, Nat and Lucia invited everyone to join one of two groups. In one group, people drew maps representing their food and land access. The maps showed the distance of food sources and natural spaces in relation to their homes. In the other group, participants illustrated their ancestral “roots and routes” to show their historic ties to food and land access. At the end of the day participants shared a community dinner provided by Lovage, allowing guests more time to connect and reflect on the day’s events.

Check out some photos of our event here.