Our Land Resilience project is Seeding Sovereignty’s effort to increase awareness of Indigenous ecological land practices and knowledge of first foods to transform the colonial-capitalist farming industry known as Big-Ag. The ceaseless colonization of Indigenous lands by this industry plays a key role in climate change and environmental destruction such as soil erosion, water pollution, loss of animal habitat and human death and suffering.
The Land Resilience project seeds long-term change by increasing the engagement and representation of Indigenous Peoples in the agriculture industry who advocate for traditional land practices, renewable energy policy and community sovereignty. We work to support Indigenous farmers, organizers and entrepreneurs that are dismantling Big-Ag’s insidious reach and rebuilding with Indigenous ideologies to bring forth regenerative food systems and a compassionate economy. Seeding Sovereignty educates and organizes via direct actions, art builds, youth leadership development, organizer convenings, cultural events, articles, social media and so much more. Recognizing the increased dispersal of Indigenous people from rural reservations to urban centers, we also cover food sovereignty issues that resonate with urban populations. In all of our efforts, we highly prize the wisdom of our elders; this is a multi-generational effort to shift “Agri-business as usual” with Indigenous sovereignty and knowledge. By empowering disenfranchised Native communities, we encourage those who have had their histories rewritten, their ancestral landscapes reshaped and their traditional ecological knowledge ignored to reclaim their practices and contribute to fundamental societal change during this climate crisis that is fueled by environmental disaster caused by Big-Ag.
Land Resilience Director
Over the past two years, our Land Resilience Director, Christine Nobiss, has taken a strong “No Big-Ag” stance in Iowa--in a state “outside” of Indian country but yet so significant to our ancestors as it lies between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. Christine has made great inroads into the environmental and social justice fights in Iowa but strives to create more awareness on issues facing Indigenous communities everywhere and build a larger network of organizers across the country working on the same issue.
1. Over the coming months until the next U.S. Presidential election, Seeding Sovereignty seeks to take advantage of our position in the key political state of Iowa, and work to get a statewide moratorium on new or expanding factory farms until Iowa has less than 100 polluted waterways. We are a member of the Iowa Alliance for Responsible Agriculture, the organization leading the charge on this issue.
2. This past year, the Ag Gag was declared unconstitutional but a month later, the Iowa Legislature passed another version of the Ag Gag bill that again is being challenged in the court. Seeding Sovereignty will continue to push back on this ban until it is lifted.
3. Over the next few months, we will produce another zine in our land decolonization series discussing checkerboarding on reservations, the new farm bill and its effects on Native American farmers, and the fact that 75 percent of reservation land is dedicated to agricultural and what this all means in regards to Indigenous sovereignty and regenerative land management.
4. We are working to increase Indigenous presence at Farm Aid, the Women Food and Agriculture conference, and more white led farm organizations.
5. Host a convening for Indigenous organizations, individuals and tribal representatives to unite and move on issues caused by Big-Ag in our communities.
6. Increase language in the Green New Deal concerning Indigenous sovereignty and traditional land and farming practices.
Our Track Record
August 18, 2017 - Nebraska
August 24, 2017 - Yakima Nation, WA
September 13, 2017 - Iowa City, IA
September 24, 2017 - La Plata, MS
Feb 12 - Olympia, WA
May 9 -13, 2018 - Meskwaki Nation, IA
June 6, 2018 - Ihanktonwan Nation, SD
June 28 - July 1, 2018 - Nisqually Nation, OR
September 1 - 8, 2018 - Iowa
September 21 - 22, 2018 - Hartford, CT
October 18, 2018 - Des Moines, IA
October 23 - 26, 2018 - San Francisco, CA
November 2, 2018 - Des Moines, IA
November 16, 2018 - Iowa City, IA
February 21, 2019 - Des Moines, IA
February 26, 2019 - Des Moines, IA
July 14, 2018 - Cedar Rapids, IA
Our Work in Iowa
Seeding Sovereignty has done a significant amount of work in Iowa because it is Big-Ag’s sacrifice zone. No other landscape in the country has been biologically colonized to the extent that this state has. Furthermore, Iowa is where the process of Indigenous genocide and relocation was severe and vast due to the desire for this fertile ground that lies between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. It is now a highly mono-cropped state where Big-Ag has taken over. The land is almost unrecognizable--where there used to be tall grass prairie, oak savanna, wetlands and woodlands there are now rows and rows of genetically modified corn and soy. Interspersed between the cropland are many sprawling suburban communities that increase in size each year. With increased urban sprawl, comes more golf courses (Iowa is host to more golf course per capita than any other state), parking lots and general development that is increasing runoff into our Iowa waterways. According to Mark Edwards, Retired Iowa DNR Trails Coordinator, “Today, Iowa competes for the very bottom in state parks and public lands. We are known as the most biologically altered state in North America. Roughly 98% of Iowa has been altered for agricultural use, cities, and roads. All our state parks and forests had been logged and heavily grazed...Iowa has no old-growth forests left. We have less than one-tenth of one percent of the prairies which covered our state and produced our rich soils.” (Sierra Club)
Iowa needs a more cohesive Indigenous stand against BIg-AG, CAFOs, and pipelines in this state. Indigenous people have been resisting this degradation to our land for a very long time but we need to start standing up for the land outside of "Indian country" and challenge the status quo in places where Indigenous voices are less acknowledged. Our own Decolonizer, Christine Nobiss, Plains Cree/Saulteaux (also founder of Indigenous Iowa and Little Creek Camp), has already made huge inroads into the environmental and social justice fight in this state. Through her ongoing work with Seeding Sovereignty Christine has not just paired with local Indigenous groups and individuals but made amazing ties with other allies like, Bold Iowa, Iowa CCI, 100 Grannies,The National Family Farm Coalition, The Poor People's Campaign, The Women’s March, etc., in order to raise awareness on Indigenous issues in Iowa and the world. The desired impact is to provide a voice to a population segment of this society that absolutely needs to be heard at this point in time.