August 2020

Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Dineh Farmer Kris Barney 'Growing Food -- Connecting to our Ancestors and Ourselves'

Dineh Farmer Kris Barney 'Growing Food -- Connecting to our Ancestors and Ourselves'

Kris Barney
Tsé Chízhí Farm and Seeds
 Tsé Chízhí Farm and Seeds.
French translation by Christine Prat at
Censored News
ROUGH ROCK, Navajo Nation -- A long time ago, our Diné People looked at seeds and growing things as wealth. Livestock was wealth, good health was wealth, healthy children and grandchildren were wealth. The water, the rain, the wild animal meats, the wild plants, the land herself was wealth. We say, Yodí Ataałseí, Chí'yáán Altaałsei, many kinds of material wealth and many kinds of foods. Often, we talk about food sovereignty or hear it mentioned. The ability to feed ourselves, to be food independent. Independent of grocery stores, independent of corporations that ravage the earth with industrial agriculture.

So many terms and resources are applied to this type of critical analysis, but, what yields the most info about food, is the practice of growing food in the ways shown by our ancestors. There is a great disconnect many people have toward food, the alternatives offer little solutions and often lead to health issues. When we disconnect from the land or have been forced to, we sacrifice a great deal of knowledge, plant knowledge, animal knowledge, land knowledge. How we treat our bodies, what we feed our bodies is instrumental in determining how we choose to live and what good examples we leave for our children and grandchildren.

This hubbard squash is going in some mutton soup today.


Traditional Navajo Farming -- Songs and Stories from Rock Point

Photo Kris Barney 2018 A stocky blue corn with an ear forming — atTsé Chízhí Farm and Seeds.

Traditional Navajo Farming -- Songs and Stories from Rock Point

By Brenda Norrell

Censored News
French translation by Christine Prat at:

ROCK POINT, Navajo Nation --
Navajo elder Tabaahi Ts'osi, George Blue-eyes shared his knowledge of the magic and mystery of dry farming with a planting stick in the book 'Navajo Farming,' now a classic.

"George Blue-eyes plants by the stars. When the weather starts getting warm, he watches the evening sky to look for six tiny stars which in Navajo are called Dilyehe, and in English are called the Pleiades."

Dineh Wild Foods -- Voices from Tse Ho Tso

Near Tse Ho Tso, Fort Defiance, 1873
Dineh Wild Foods -- Voices from Tse Ho Tso

Censored News series on real life solutions to climate change, living on the land, growing food and walking
By Brenda Norrell
TSE HO TSO -- Navajo elder Howard McKinley, who lived to be nearly 100 years old, recalled how corn pollen was used in ceremonies and corn silk was used for healing teas. Navajo women sang corn grinding songs as they ground corn on grinding stones. Parched corn was ground together with pinons for nut butter similar to peanut butter.
McKinley remembered picking wild yucca bananas and wild potatoes. He remembered how blocks of frozen water from Blue Canyon were stored as chunks of ice for summer months in cut-rock houses near his home in Tse Ho Tso (Meadow between the rocks) known as Fort Defiance, Arizona.

Traditional Dineh Foods -- Foods for Survival and Health

Real life solutions to climate change: A new series on living on the land, growing food and walking from Censored News
Article and photo by Brenda Norrell
Scroll down for traditional recipes

As the corn is ripening in the fields, it is a good time to share these traditional Dine’ recipes. During the 1980s, Katherine Arviso, director of Navajo Foods and Nutrition, provided Navajos with a scientific study on traditional foods, revealing these are superior to modern foods of bleached flour, with too much sugar and salt. I’m happy to add that I had the honor of working with this program as a nutrition educator. Through the years, traditional Navajo foods and healing practices have been recognized by scientists, including the benefits of sweats and healing with herbs.
In the food study, juniper ash was among the traditional foods found to be packed with benefits. It was made by burning juniper branches and sifting out the ashes. It provided Navajos with a great source of calcium. Another of those traditional foods was dleesh, edible clay. 

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