Traditional & Cultural Food Programs: An Operational Guide for Serving Indigenous Populations in Public and Community Organizations


The current colonial regulations make it difficult for indigenous individuals to access their traditional foods in most Canadian healthcare institutions. The belief of the team is that “to deny one’s food is to deny them of their culture”- a right that is articulated in the Truth and Reconciliation findings. While some healthcare facilities (Yukon Hospitals & Sioux Lookout MenoYawin Health Centre) have taken leadership in establishing Traditional Food Programs (TFP), a logistical challenge faced by these facilities is the multitude of requests they receive from institutions requesting information on their TFPs.

The project aims to create a guidebook for organizations considering developing a traditional and/or country foods program, including tools for managers/leaders who are ready and responsible for the implementation of culturally-safe food programs for Indigenous people.  The guidebook will provide relevant background information and linkages to “The Truth and Reconciliation” findings, potentially including self-assessment tools.  This guidebook will also have a section on Advocacy- a “toolkit” that provides managers/leaders with the appropriate tools to address the political and systems barriers associated with TFPs in Canada. Lastly, the guidebook will provide technical and “best practice” guidelines related to sourcing, butchering, food production, service, storage and food safety/traceability of country (non-inspected) foods.

Read the final deck presented at the Food for Health Symposium below




Kelly Gordon, Six Nations Health Services 

Leslie Carson, Yukon General Hospital Corporation

Kathy Loon, Sioux Lookout MenoYaWin Health Centre

Tessie Harris, Northern Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre

Shelly Crack, Haida Gwaii Hospital and Health Centre

Charlotte Pilat-Burns, Saskatoon Health Region

Dan Munshaw, City of Thunder Bay

Donna Koenig, Interior Health | British Columbia


Melanie Goodchild
Hayley Lapalme