The manufacturing of a chronic food crisis.
Food insecurity in the North is one of Canada’s most shameful public health and human rights crises. In Plundering the North, Kristin Burnett and Travis Hay examine the disturbing mechanics behind the origins of this crisis: state and corporate intervention in northern Indigenous foodways.
Despite claims to the contrary by governments, the Hudson’s Bay Company (HBC), and the contemporary North West Company (NWC), the exorbitant cost of food in the North is not a naturally occurring phenomenon or the result of free-market forces. Rather, inflated food prices are the direct result of government policies and corporate monopolies. Using food as a lens to track the institutional presence of the Canadian state in the North, Burnett and Hay chart the social, economic, and political changes that have taken place in northern Ontario since the 1950s. They explore the roles of state food policy and the HBC and NWC in setting up, perpetuating, and profiting from food insecurity while undermining Indigenous food sovereignties and self-determination.
Plundering the North provides fresh insight into Canada’s settler colonial project, laying bare the processes behind the chronic food insecurity experienced by northern Indigenous communities. An important re-evaluation of northern food policies, this timely contribution to scholarship on settler colonialism in Canada enables better understandings of the ways the state and corporations endanger the health and well-being of northern Indigenous communities.