Marjorie Ovayuak was born in 1953 on Tupkak, a traditional fishing area about 10 miles north of what would become Tuktoyaktuk in the Northwest Territories. Marjorie is Inuvialuk from the Nutaarmiut region. Nutaarmiut means “the brave people of the coast”. She is the 7th of 12 children and when she was born, her family was doing what they always did at that time of year; harvesting fish for the winter. Marjorie was completely nomadic, travelling with her family following the harvests in the high Arctic until the age of 4 when she was sent to the Aklavik hospital for a very serious illness. From then she was sent alone to the Charles Camsell Hospital in Edmonton where she spent 3 years of her young life in a strange place. The loss of family, culture and childhood was an irreparable fracture and Marjorie has been spending her life cultivating connection back to her land, family, community and language. Despite being sent to a federal day school in Tuktoyaktuk, Marjorie relearned her Inuvialuktun language and spent as much time as she could helping her family hunt and harvest. She continues to hunt and fish and provide for her family and is a fierce advocate for Inuit culture and language revitalization. As a brave person of the coast, she brings awareness to the effects of global warming and climate change and its effects on the coastal people of the Arctic.
Tzuria Malpica was born in Boulder, Colorado and grew up in the mountains to the west. As a Mexican-American, Jewish woman, Tzuria honours both sides of her family in the work that she does as a Shochetet (“person who performs Kosher slaughter”). Tzuria apprenticed with a master Shochet to learn the practice of Kosher slaughter and to deepen her relationship with her lineage and with food. This connection to the land, animals and the act of taking life for food, had a profound effect on her, and inspired her to lead workshops. Tzuria first led a ‘Meet Your Meat’ workshop with Queer Nature, empowering margenalized people and sharing her passion with the survival skills comunity. Through her workshops, Tzuria helps people connect to their food and foster a healthy relationship with death. She believes that as humans, it is our responsibility to appreciate our food and where it comes from. Especially if we choose to eat meat, it is up to us to understand what that entails and to cultivate respect for the process. Tzuria is also a trained Herbal Medical Practitioner and studied at the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism. Whenever possible, she teaches children of all ages about wild plants and you will also find her tending beehives in the lower elevations of Colorado. She lives in Nederland, CO with her sweetheart and 13 year old border collie.
Maurice (Eric) Person is a Black-Indigenous farmer who was born and raised in Oathe, Kansas. After high school he studied several disciplines including aircraft construction, wind turbine and solar panel installation. His true passion however, is in the dirt. His grandmother was a Choctaw-Kickapoo woman and his grandfather was a share crop farmer. Under the guidance of his grandparents, he learned about the intense healing that can happen when you get your hands in the dirt and grow your own food. For the last 3 years he has been working at East High school in Kansas City, MO to re-start their Agriculture Program. Through that program and his aquaponics business, he was able to support the growth of 10,000 lbs of food for the community. He now lives in Atlanta, GA and works with Community Movement Builders, a not-for-profit to support food sovereignty and food sustainability. He loves to introduce new plants and food to people and his mission is to empower black youth to return to their roots, honour what was forgotten and stolen and to help people reconnect to the land. He believes that by decolonizing our minds and diets, we can be truly on the path to health and healing.
Flame Kamanakokekaikilakila Porter was raised in Ewa Beach on the southwest end on the island of Oʻahu, Hawai’i. He Graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at West Oʻahu with a Bachelor’s of Applied Science in Sustainable Community Food Systems. He currently works as a Farm Management Apprentice at MAʻO Organic Farms in Lualualei, Waiʻanae. As an Indigenous Hawaiian with Japanese, Filipino and Caucasian ancestry, Flame understands the importance of intersectional activism and brings that awareness to all the work he does. Even as a young man of 26 he sees the long term importance of creating, maintaining and ultimately returning to a healthy and generative food system in Hawai’i. As an advocate for Indgienous land practice, he knows that the only way forward is to keep the teachings of his ancestors at the forefront. Sustainable farming is his passion and he is on a mission to share this passion with future generations. When he doesn’t have his hands in the dirt, he enjoys performing with his band M. V. Posse.