My name is Wendy Ross, I am 29 years old and I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Winnipeg has been home since December 1992 when my family moved from Norway House Manitoba, located in north central Manitoba. I am of Ininew (Cree) decent and currently in the final stages of writing my Masters thesis in Native Studies at the University of Manitoba.
I have been a student in a western education system since I was 4 years old. I took two years off after my undergraduate degree before I enrolled in graduate studies. Only with the past 3 or 4 years I began to gain another perspective of the world around me. There have been numerous individuals that have played an important part of my unlearning and relearning of the society I live in. Humans live in an unjust world. My ancestors would probably not like how our societies and communities have changed. For example, I have heard a few elders state that we eat too much of the ‘white mans’ food (KD, pop, chips, pizza pops). My home community used to rely on food that came directly off the land. Foods included: Moose, fish, geese, ducks, berries etc. Many people still rely on these types of foods; yet, many people do rely on supermarkets to supplement their diets.
As mentioned I live in Winnipeg. Winnipeg is located in southern Manitoba. It takes about 8 hours to drive to my home community. I now live in a territory that is abundant in fresh vegetables, grains, berries and livestock. About two hours east is the Canadian Shield, or what I refer to as Anishinabe territory. Many Anishinabe people harvest ‘Manomin’ aka wild rice and 2-½ hours southeast maple syrup is a staple.
This online endeavor seeks to document my journey to live a balanced life in the location where I reside. This endeavor is an attempt to ‘decolonize’ my diet, shed some weight, and aim for overall health and wellness. I am not suggesting that I only eat foods traditional to my home territory, I am suggesting that decolonizing my diet refers to the process of gaining knowledge of where my food comes from and taking time to prepare meals from food close it its original state for example – resisting a manufactured foods ie. canned soup, frozen meals to homemade and slow cooked using local sources.
My online endeavor is also inspired by a quote in an article by Taiaiake Alfred and Jeff Corntassel (2005).
Decolonize your Diet – our people must regain the self-sufﬁcient capacity to provide our own food, clothing, shelter and medicines. Ultimately important to the struggle for freedom is the reconstitution of our own sick and weakened physical bodies and community relationships accomplished through a return to the natural sources of food and the active, hard-working, physical lives lived by our ancestors (p. 613).
Reflecting on these words it is a great commitment to alter eating and exercise habits. If I am to strive to achieve my goal to achieve overall health and well-being like my ancestors this online application is a tool to be accountable to the goal. As I conclude this introduction, this attempt to document my journey to overall health and wellness seeks to entertain, create dialog and perhaps inspire.