Colleen Truskey

By William & Mary

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American Indian Food Sovereignty

The “environment” refers to more than just the physical landscape. From a biocultural perspective, environments are networks of historical, political, and social conditions that are embodied within the biology of individuals. For my honors thesis, I will investigate how these broadly conceptualized environmental factors produce health disparities in Native American communities, who experience nutrition-related chronic diseases at unusually high rates. Within this context, I will also explore recently developed American Indian food sovereignty programs as possible forms of “resistance” to these environmental restrictions.

In order to conduct this research, I will travel to several Native communities across the country in order to fully describe the development, structure, and impacts of specific food sovereignty programs. This fieldwork will help illuminate the connections between policy, social standing, and health in historically marginalized indigenous communities, and produce new empirical research on ways these communities can address issues related to securing nutritious and culturally appropriate foods.

All William & Mary Honors Fellowships fundraising supports the Charles Center Honors Fellowships Fund. Direct support for individual undergraduate research projects is distributed by the Roy R. Charles Center for Academic Excellence. To learn more about Honors Fellowships, please visit our About page. If you have questions, please visit our FAQ page.


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