Kiinawiiyia jiibaakwe: Everyone is Cooking

2021, City of Toronto
Anishinabek, colonialism, Culinary Arts, Food Sovereignty, Food studies, Indigenous Food, Kinship, Resilience
About This Project

Date: June 5th, 2021
Partner: City of Toronto
Sponsors: City of Toronto and School of Cities
Location: URL Forthcoming
Project Members: Dominica Tang and Lindsay Chisholm
Kiinawiiyia jiibaakwe: Everyone is Cooking is an online exhibition that highlights the intersection of Anishinaabe foodways and kinship systems as a way of understanding the importance of Indigenous foodways. It reflects on ideas regarding food sovereignty yet is not explicitly about that. In it, the community collaborators will be discussing the Dish with One Spoon Agreement, the Three Sisters story, and the history of bannock. Through reflecting on food, the project will also discuss mental, physical, and community wellbeing. The exhibition will be launched in association with the City of Toronto’s Indigenous Art Festival on the platform of the city’s Awakenings Project. The textual content of the exhibition will be translated into Anishinaabemowin.

Summary of Process/Timeline

Our project took taken several shifts over the months of its development. This was done to ensure our community collaborators’ perspectives and voices were telling the stories found throughout the exhibit. It was of the utmost importance to bring on different persons from the community as the first step in our project. As we would need their advisement for research direction, content development, revisions of text, and for the recording of videos of them as means of expression. Discussions on the topic can be emotionally and time-taxing. We then applied for grants for each collaborated to be given an appropriate and respectful honorarium for their commitment to the project.

Our official team of collaborators includes Professor Brenda Wastasecoot, Chef Billy Alexander, Joe Pitawanakwat, Elder Shishigo Gijig, Chef Shane Chartrand, and Audrey Rochette. Each was chosen for their different specific expertise.

We narrowed the scope of our project from Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee kinship and foodways to focus more on Anishinaabe. Narrowing the scope would highlight the diversity of perspectives and experiences and show that the exhibit presents specific perspectives, not an all-encompassing one. Although the focus may be on Anishinaabe foodways, we will be acknowledging that not all collaborators are Anishinaabe and that their perspectives are equally important and respected. Previously we had used bannock as a focus and as a framework for the exhibit, and we and our collaborators wanted to pivot this focus to kinship and connection. Two of our collaborators, Elder Shishigo and Audrey Rochette suggested that the title be changed to Kiinawiiyia jiibaakwe: Everyone is Cooking. We were very pleased with this idea and believed it reflected the exhibition much better.

Audrey Rochette’s position with the city gave her the ability to organize a panel discussion with our collaborators to further discuss topics in the exhibit but is not directly affiliated with it. We were very pleased that creating this team has allowed for other projects to take place!
We would like to acknowledge thanks to all our community collaborators for their perspectives and support throughout the project. A special thanks also to iSchool and the Museum Studies program for their support with the project and our professor Agnieszka Chalas for their ongoing assistance with the exhibition and to the City of Toronto for being our host institution. We would also like to thank the School of Cities Education and Outreach small grants fund for supporting the translation of the exhibit into Anishinaabemowin. We believe the connection that was made through these partnerships will continue to grow and foster more relationships and joint projects in the years to come.