‘What we need to get back to’: Food sovereignty event brings talk of barter economies

 By Alexandra Mehl  Local Journalism Initiative Reporter Port Alberni, BC – In late March Nuu-chah-nulth and surrounding communities gathered at Maht Mah’s for Ahousaht’s food sovereignty event. After a full day of presentations, attendees and presenters gathered to competitively trade teas, herbs, seeds, smoked sockeye, soaps, and other goods, representing an economy that traces back thousands of years. “Traditionally, we had vast trade routes,” said Nitanis Desjarlais, a traditional food advocate, noting there was language associated with trading. “It opened up our plates to this variety of foods, and it strengthened our relationships.” “It was a currency,” added Desjarlais. “And it still is now.” According to a University of British Columbia document, the First Nations of B.C. were the most “active and expert” traders in North America, in some cases…

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