Subtexts Hoover

Elizabeth Hoover

Traditional food practices in Native communities are the subject of a talk by Elizabeth Hoover on Thursday, March 21. An anthropologist, teacher, and author, Hoover (Mohawk/Mi’kmaq) has visited 39 Native food and farming heritage projects, including several in New Mexico, to explore the issues of seed sovereignty (the right of farmers to breed or exchange seeds not patented or genetically modified by corporations such as Bayer, formerly Monsanto) and the extent to which global climate change influences food practices within Native communities.

After interviewing chefs, farm owners, and community members, Hoover is developing a comprehensive multi-site ethnography of the Native food sovereignty movement. She explores environmental effects on food production, the significance of heritage seeds, and challenges faced by Native farming and gardening projects around the country.

Her first book, The River Is in Us: Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), described the effects of contaminants at Superfund sites (a federal program established in 1980 responsible for cleaning up land contaminated by hazardous waste) near indigenous communities in upstate New York. Hoover is an assistant professor at Brown University, where she teaches and conducts research in environmental justice in Native communities and indigenous food movements. Hoover received her doctorate from Brown with a focus on medical anthropology as it applies to Native communities responding to environmental contamination.

Elizabeth Hoover speaks about her book project, From Garden Warriors to Good Seeds: Indigenizing the Local Food Movement,as part of the School for Advanced Research Creative Thoughts Forum, at the James A. Little Theater (1060 Cerrillos Road) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 21. Tickets ($10) are available at