Food Sovereignty and Seed Rematriation: A conversation with Rowen White, Seed Keeper and Member of Akwesasne Mohawk Nation

In this issue of Relearning Highlands History, we sat down with Rowen White, who is a farmer, seedkeeper, author, founder of Sierra Seeds, and member of the Akwesasne Mohawk Nation. Rowen’s work focuses on the growing movement to reconnect people back to nature. Her teachings advocate for a more just and resilient food system rooted in local communities and cultural traditions. 

Terms to Know
Akwesasne: The St. Regis Mohawk Indian Tribe, whose hunting grounds and trade routes ran from Canada down to the Catskill Mountains, is now centered on the reservation known as Akwesasne in Northern New York State. Source:

Food sovereignty: Food sovereignty is the right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts the aspirations and needs of those who produce, distribute and consume food at the heart of food systems and policies rather than the demands of markets and corporations. Source:

Quieseed: A seed that due to social trauma stays consciously dormant not out of oppression, but rather due to a deep intuition which senses not to seed until it finds itself in a fertile, fecund environment. Origin: Ash Arder, Detroit, Michigan + Heidi Quante, California, November 2017. Source:

Rematriation: This term describes an instance where land, air, water, animals, plants, ideas and ways of doing things and living are purposefully returned to their original natural context–their mother, the great Female Holy Wild.  Like the repatriation of prisoners after years of war or millennia of unwilling slavery in service to an unconscious civilization, exploited and depleted for their wild vitality, any attempt to ‘rematriate’ them back to the Holy in Nature is the beginning of cultural sanity and healing. Source: Martin Prechtel, The Unlikely Peace of Cuchamaquic

Thank you to Rowen White for sharing her knowledge and insights, and to Margot Mathieu for conducting the interview and editing the video above.

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