Rosebud food sovereignty program part of 27th UN Climate Change Summit

By: - November 16, 2022 4:46 pm
Matte Wilson of Rosebud, SD (left) speaks to a panel at COP27

Matte Wilson of Rosebud, SD (left) speaks to a panel at COP27 (courtesy photo).

A Rosebud man is in Egypt this week to share his South Dakota experience with attendees of the 27th United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP27).

Matte Wilson is the director of the Siċaŋġu Food Sovereignty Initiative in Rosebud. Wilson is in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt to explain how the initiative is working to create a food system that is sustainable, scalable, healthy and informed by Lakota culture.

A film featuring the initiative called “Food 2050 is also being screened at COP27, where Wilson is participating in panel discussions.

People are finally paying attention to place-based work,” Wilson said. “Work that’s being done directly in the community that’s really grounded in the people and the values and language and the culture.”

The ability to produce healthy food is essential in building a sovereign tribal nation, Wilson said.

We’re taking a ‘systems approach,’ and that’s really going back to an indigenous philosophy,” Wilson said. “Indigenous people have been living for millennia and now people are realizing that those systems did work and we need to go back to them.” 

Wilson points to the growing popularity of regenerative agriculture and companion planting as examples – concepts tribes had long leveraged prior to colonization.

In 2020, that Rosebud program was named a “Top Visionary” out of over 1,300 applicants from around the world by the Rockefeller Foundation. As part of that award, Rockefeller helped share those stories with the world. That brought a film crew to Rosebud to create part of the mini-documentary being screened this week at COP27. 

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Joshua Haiar
Joshua Haiar

Joshua Haiar is a reporter based in Sioux Falls. Born and raised in Mitchell, he joined the Navy as a public affairs specialist after high school and then earned a degree from the University of South Dakota. Prior to joining South Dakota Searchlight, Joshua worked for five years as a multimedia specialist and journalist with South Dakota Public Broadcasting.