Beyond Indigenous Ingredients and Cuisines: Meaning, Community and Sovereignty

Mar 8, 2021 | NURJ Online Volume 5

JUNTANG QIAN

Northwestern ’23
Major in Journalism and Psychology
Minor in Art Theory and Practice

Juntang Qian ‘23 is a sophomore majoring in Journalism and Psychology and minoring in Art Theory and Practice. She is from Shanghai, China. During her spare time, she loves to paint, take photographs, dance, and write. Her dream is to become a journalist and author who writes and draws illustrations for her books. Juntang currently sees herself going into the journalism industry when she graduates, but this goal is subject to change. A fun fact about her is that she has an interest in collecting tickets and has been doing that for 15 years.

Q&A

In a nutshell, what is your research topic? 

The research topic is centered around the Indigenous food sovereignty movement in Canada. More specifically, I researched how Vancouver Indigenous food business owners and Canadian Indigenous culinary leaders are part of this movement, and how they are impacted by this movement.

How did you come to your research topic? 

I decided on this research topic before the pandemic started. By then, I wanted to interview Vancouver Indigenous food business owners on their experiences owning Indigenous food businesses in Vancouver and how they see themselves as part of the larger food sovereignty movement.

The pandemic limited my ability to conduct in-person interviews with the food business owners. But after conducting Zoom interviews with several business owners, I got connected to outstanding Indigenous culinary leaders in Canada, who were leading the Canadian Indigenous food sovereignty movement and creating impacts in their communities.

Therefore, I produced two episodes in which both Vancouver Indigenous food business owners and Canadian Indigenous culinary leaders shared their experiences, perspectives, and insights.

Where do you see the future direction of this work leading? How might future researchers build on your work, or what is left to discover in this field? 

During the research, I learned that the Canadian Indigenous food sovereignty movement made huge progress in recent years. These days, Indigenous chefs who are leading the Indigenous Culinary of Associated Nation (ICAN) are collaborating with National Health inspectors to center Indigenous chefs’ voices in the Canadian culinary community. They are also starting programs to mentor the next generation of Indigenous chefs in Canada. In my opinion, these are meaningful stories that should be covered by journalists.

Where are you heading to after graduation? 
I currently see myself going into the journalism industry when I graduate, but this goal is subject to change.

Food Sovereignty Episode

Canadian Indigenous Culinary Leaders Create Impacts in the Food Sovereignty Movement

Food Business Episode

Vancouver Indigenous Food Business Owners Use Meanings Behind Food To Support Their Communities