Speaker Profile: Elizabeth Hoover

Elizabeth Hoover is Manning Assistant Professor of American Studies at Brown University where she teaches courses on environmental health and justice in Native communities, Indigenous food movements, and community engaged research. Elizabeth is of Mohawk/Mi’kmaq background from upstate NY and eastern Canada, and frames her work through a focus on the importance of community-based research and culturally and socially supported programming.

Elizabeth Hoover


Her book manuscript “The River is In Us;” Fighting Toxics in a Mohawk Community, an ethnographic exploration of Akwesasne Mohawks’ response to Superfund contamination and environmental health research, will be published by the University of Minnesota Press in Fall 2017. Her second book project From “Garden Warriors” to “Good Seeds;” Indigenizing the Local Food Movement explores Native American farming and gardening projects around the country: the successes and challenges faced by these organizations, the ways in which participants define and envision concepts like food sovereignty, and importance of heritage seeds.

Elizabeth has published articles about environmental reproductive justice in Native American communities, the cultural impact of fish advisories on Native communities, tribal citizen science, and health social movements.  In addition, she also serves on the executive committee of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA), and the newly formed Slow Food Turtle Island regional association, and is a board member of the Environmental Justice League of RI (EJLRI).


Speaker Profile: Martin Reindardt

Dr. Martin Reinhardt, an Anishinaabe Ojibway citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians from Michigan, is a tenured associate professor of Native American Studies at Northern Michigan University where he teaches courses in American Indian education, tribal law and government, and sociology.


Professor Reinhardt’s  current research focuses on revitalizing relationships between humans and Indigenous plants and animals of the Great Lakes Region.  He has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the Pennsylvania State University, where his doctoral research focused on Indian education and the law with a special focus on treaty educational provisions.

Among numerous other projects, Prof. Reinhardt was primary investigator on the Decolonizing the Diet Project (DDP) that focused on the impacts of a traditional Indigenous Great Lakes diet.  DDP participants ate varying degrees of this Indigenous diet during the study period, resulting in general overall improvement in physical health while learning how to obtain and cook those regional Indigenous foods on a regular basis.  The project also published the Decolonizing Diet Project Cookbook.


Chef Profile: Ben Jacobs

Ben Jacobs is co-owner of Tocabe: An American Indian Eatery, based in Denver, Colorado. Tocabe first opened its doors in December 2008 and added its second location in 2015 and a food truck last year. Tocabe is the only American Indian owned and operated restaurant in Metro Denver. Ben is a Tribal member of the Osage Nation located in north eastern Oklahoma.

ZAGAT 30 UNDER 30 - Colorado

In addition to his work in founding Tocabe, Ben has actively worked to promote American Indian nutrition and healthy eating through workshop in Native communities, as well as advocacy in the Denver area.  Part of his philosophy is a “Native first” approach to local foods that places heightened priority in sourcing from Tribal food producers.

Chef Profile: Brian Yazzie

Brian Yazzie (aka Yazzie The Cook) is a Navajo Chef from Dennehotso, AZ on the Navajo Nation.  Chef Yazzie has a degree in Associate in Applied Science (AAS) in Culinary Arts from Saint Paul College.  He caters private events and provides cooking demonstrations utilizing healthy Indigenous foods free of colonial ingredients.


As the Chef de Cuisine at The Sioux Chefhe enjoys collaborating with other cooks and chefs on Indigenous food projects. Chef Yazzie aspires to explore old and new delectable Indigenous cuisine creations and to educate all populations on the health benefits and possibilities of an Indigenous diet.  Brian has previously partnered with the Intertribal Agriculture Council on Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summits at Gun Lake Pottawatomi and Red Lake, as well as the Taste of Madison.

American Indian Foods Pop-up Dinner


The Food Sovereignty Symposium & Festival is featuring a series of Indigenous foods meals, including an opening American Indian Foods Pop-up Dinner on Thursday, March 9th at Robinia Courtyard (829 East Washington Avenue).  Tickets for this gourmet, multi-course meal are $30/person.  There will also be a late night pop-up that night at Forequarter (708 East Johnson).


More information on other event meals will be released over the next few days.  Here is the event meal schedule:

  • Wednesday, March 8th
    • Slow Food UW Cafe (The Crossing)
  • Thursday, March 9th
    • American Indian Foods Pop-up Dinner, 6:00-9:00 (Robinia Courtyard)
    • Late Night Pop-up (Forequarter)
  • Friday, March 10th
    • Lunch: various campus restaurants will feature Indigenous food specials
    • Friday Fish Fry (The Crossing)
  • Saturday, March 11th
    • Taste of the Tribes, 10:00am-12:00pm (Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery)
    • Food Sovereignty Banquet Dinner, 5:00pm (Union South)
  • Sunday, March 12th
    • Closing Brunch, 10:00am (De Jope Residence Hall)

Speaker Profile: Rowen White

Rowen White is a Seed Keeper and farmer from the Mohawk community of Akwesasne and a passionate activist for indigenous seed and food sovereignty.  She is the director and founder of the Sierra Seeds, an innovative organic seed stewardship organization focusing on local seed and education, based in Nevada City CA.

Rowen White


Rowen is the current National Project Coordinator and advisor for the Indigenous Seed Keeper Network, which is an initiative of the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance, a non-profit organization aimed at leveraging resources to support tribal food sovereignty projects. The mission of the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network is to nourish and assist the growing Seed Sovereignty Movement across Turtle Island.   She teaches and facilitates creative seed stewardship immersions around the country within tribal and small farming communities.

Rowen is the current Chair of the Board of Directors for Seed Savers Exchange, a prestigious non-profit whose mission is to preserve agricultural biodiversity by saving and sharing heirloom seeds.  She is the author of a book entitled ” Breeding Organic Vegetables” as well as a forthcoming book on the seeds and foodways of her ancestral Haudenosaunee people.  She weaves stories of seeds, food, culture and sacred Earth stewardship on her blog, Seed Songs.

Follow her seed journeys at

Braiding Corn