This Paper is a provocation to move beyond a standard human rights and right to food framework to encourage scholars, activists, and political leaders to engage in full throttle societal transformation. Ending hunger in the United States demands nothing less. The modern human rights framework is enshrined in the modern nation-state system that is rooted in the transatlantic slave trade, colonization, and genocide.1 Three primary ways in which these roots took hold were through land theft, rape, and starvation. Hence, to assert that integrating the right to food and freedom from hunger into nation-state constitutions or into national plans to end hunger without significantly altering the structure of the nation-state will be fundamentally ineffective. Nation states currently depend on keeping people hungry, especially women and children.2 If this is the case, then we ought to consider new ways of envisioning and devising a world in which all people are free from hunger and have good nutrition that supports human and more-than human flourishing. To do so demands we address food insecurity at its roots.
This Paper relies on twenty-five years of empirical research with Black women, Native communities, and other groups of color, as well as on the scholarship of Black and Native thinkers. In doing so, the Paper outlines how rape, colonization, racism, and gender discrimination continue to generate food insecurity and hunger, and how incorporating a broad view of the right to food to support rights of women, Indigenous peoples, peoples of African descent, and the rural poor are integral to the right to food. Finally, this Paper shows that societal transformation can only be made possible through providing reparations to descendants of people who were enslaved, respecting and repairing treaty rights with Native nations, and changing human beings’ relationship with the natural world from viewing food as commodity to revering food and the natural world as kin with equal standing to humans. In doing so, we can meet the challenges of the climate catastrophe and promote resilience of future generations.
Mariana Chilton, PhD, MPH,
Sacred Nutrition: Asserting Indigenous Sovereignty and Rights of Women and Nature to Ensure the Right to Food in the United States,
31 U. MIA Int’l & Comp. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.miami.edu/umiclr/vol31/iss1/6