by Naveeda Qadir
On November 19, 2023, Muddy Waters Freethought Society and Neshoba Unitarian Universalist Church in Cordova welcomed Native R.I.T.E.S. founder, Dr. Amanda Savage, to speak to their audiences regarding Native American food sovereignty programs. The audience watched the award-winning documentary, Gather, which details Native American efforts to " reclaim their spiritual, political and cultural identities through food sovereignty, while battling the trauma of centuries of genocide."
The film follows Native American leaders from various tribes who are rebuilding their communities by reconnecting to traditional methods of gathering and preparing meals. Based on centuries of traditional knowledge, tribes across the nation are rediscovering, renewing, and reinventing modern day food webs, with the hope that the sustainability and resourcefulness which once defined Native American livelihood can once again be implemented in today's climate-weary world.
After the film viewing, Dr. Savage welcomed audience questions and comments. The ensuing discussion involved approaching sensitive topics, however, the groups welcomed the opportunity to learn and share views with one another.