the sistah vegan project

wakeupstarshine  asked:

Hey! I've been seeing a lot of posts recently about how vegans are ableist, racist, and classist because indigenous communities need to eat animals in order to stay alive due to their land being taken from them and living in food deserts. And also people who need to animals because of health reasons. I was wondering if you know of any resources that address these issues or provide information about ingenious communities that have plant based diets? Thanks!

“Indigenous communities” is not synonymous with communities that still have a hunter/gatherer-like lifestyle. While there are humans who still hunt for their food living today, it’s just downright ignorant for anyone to imagine indigenous peoples as living a survivalist lifestyle, especially when the term encompasses so many (too many) different cultures to identify them as a homogeneous entity. 

So, for example, people living on reserves still buy their groceries same way you do for the most part (and that land is rarely arable farm land). Saying “indigenous communities need to eat animals” doesn’t address 1. many indigenous people alive today, 2. Native and aboriginal vegans and animal-free aspects of their heritage, or 3. how their existence affects your own and what kind of changes you can make in your own life to support animal rights.

This excerpt from Margaret Robinson may prove useful to you:

When veganism is constructed as white, First Nations people who choose a meatless diet are portrayed as sacrificing cultural authenticity. This presents a challenge for those of us who see our vegan diets as ethically, spiritually and culturally compatible with our indigenous traditions.

A second barrier to Native veganism is its association with class privilege. Opponents claim that a vegan diet is an indulgence since the poor must eat whatever is available, and cannot afford to be so picky. By a similar logic the poor cannot afford to abstain from caviar or truffles.

Class-based arguments assume that highly processed specialty foods or imported fruit and vegetables make up the bulk of a vegan diet. It also overlooks the cost of meat, and assumes that the subsidized meat and dairy industries in North America are representative of the world.

In fact, many of the poorest areas of the globe have a diet that is primarily vegetable-based due precisely to the low cost of vegetable production. […] The current eating model of the majority of the Mi’kmaq (First Nations people of New England and Canada) is already white, and is complicated by poverty.

As a participant in Bonita Lawrence’s study of mixed-blood urban Native identity explained, “People have been habituated to think that poverty is Native—and so your macaroni soup and your poor diet is Native.”

As for Food Deserts, click here. As for Health Reasons, click here and here (includes links from disabled vegans). If you’re having trouble finding where to start reading about the intersectionality of race and animal rights, look up Dr. A. Breeze Harper (founder of the Sistah Vegan Project). If anyone who follows me wants to add more resources, feel free to reblog and share!


lauren Ornelas of Food Empowerment Project and Dr. A. Breeze Harper of Sistah Vegan discuss the intersections of veganism, animal rights and race, and argue powerfully for a racially aware vegan movement.