The United Nations' Sustainable Development Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities identifies the goal of making all cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.
Northern Manitoba includes both cities and reserves, and is home to around 89,000 people. Manitoba as a whole sits upon the traditional territories of the Cree, Dakota, Ojibway, Oji-Cree First Nations and Métis peoples, and the majority of the population in Northern Manitoba live reserves within these communities. Though many of these communities are economically supported by industries such as forestry, construction, mining and hydroelectric development, there are consequences from these industries that impact the land on which these communities are situated. Compounding the issue are challenges relating to severe lack of support for housing, healthcare, infrastructure, education, and food insecurity. Both historically and presently, Indigenous voices are not heard as needed, and solutions are often forced upon them without consultation, collaboration or collective understanding.
Indigenous communities in northern Manitoba face severe (up to 75%) food insecurity as a result of geographical barriers, the ongoing influences of colonial policies and a lack of affordable, nutritious food options. This results in a lack of both food sovereignty and community-led food systems based on indigenous knowledge and culture resulting in an inaccessible, unsustainable food system.
Image by Dr. Shirley Thompson