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Accepted Paper:

Seeing the Seeds Home: Increasing Opportunities and Responsibilities of Non-Native Seed-Holding Institutions within the Seed Rematriation Movement  
Emma Herrighty (Iowa State University)

Paper short abstract:

Since first contact, Native American seed keepers have witnessed the displacement of culturally significant plant varieties. Herrighty discusses the seed rematriation movement as a response to this appropriation, detailing the responsibility of non-Native institutions to engage within this network.

Paper long abstract:

In the intervening generations since first contact, Native American crop varieties have been displaced from the gardening systems in which they were developed. While seeds have left communities through various avenues, some by trade and gifting and others through theft and appropriation, the reality remains that today, Indigenous growers have limited access to their ancestral varieties. Emma Herrighty discusses the rising movement of seed rematriation, which seeks to identify Indigenous seeds and return them to the communities of their origin. Rallied by combined efforts for improving seed and food sovereignty, Native Nations are reclaiming culturally significant seeds as necessary and valued participants in the process of revitalizing traditional growing practices. More often than not, however, the seeds identified for rematriation reside within the collections of non-Native institutions such as genebanks, seed companies, and museum archives. Native seed keepers and growers are working closely with some of these actors to return seeds back into the hands and soils of communities. While large-scale rematriation projects like those pioneered by Seed Savers Exchange of Decorah, Iowa, have had great impact thus far, such occurrences are rare in the larger network of seed-holding institutions. Similar partnerships have yet to be undertaken by other actors with Indigenous seed collections. Herrighty therefore considers the increasing opportunities and responsibilities of these institutions to participate within this decolonization movement. As the process of seed rematriation gains greater traction within Indigenous seed sovereignty work, joint efforts between seed-holding institutions and Native communities will be vital to long-term success.

Panel P052
Indigenous Food Sovereignty in the American Corn Belt: Resurgence in the Face of Disruption
  Session 1 Wednesday 27 October, 2021, -