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Spotlight on Indigenous Hunger

Across Canada last year, 31% of Indigenous households were food insecure compared to 13% of non-visible-minority households. But the situation is even more dire in northern Canada. In Nunavut, 70% of Inuit households are food insecure - that’s almost seven times the national average.

In part these shameful rates of food insecurity are the legacy of forced relocations and residential schooling, which inflicted deep intergenerational trauma and severed Inuit people from traditional hunting and harvesting networks. But these historical challenges are further compounded by Nunavut’s food costs, which often boarder on the obscene.

In a recent report by the National Observer, Muhammad Wani, vice-president of the Islamic Society of Nunavut and head of the organization's Arctic Food Bank spoke to the severity of the northern food crisis: "Everything is about four times more expensive here... if you purchase, say, $35 worth of groceries down south … here it will be, say, $100."

But who is responsible for these unaffordable food costs? CBC’s Fifth Estate recently conducted an investigation that raised serious questions about profiteering by Canada’s largest grocery stores. Their findings were particularly damming for Northmart – the grocery chain with a near monopoly on food sales in northern Canada. Despite numerous parliamentary hearings on rising food prices, not a single northern retailer testified.

But, with the support of our Jewish community, Mazon is fighting back. Last year, Mazon provided more than 70,000 meals through our national network of indigenous-serving partner programs

Beyond simple meal provision, Mazon also works with Indigenous led projects that use traditional hunting techniques to feed their communities. For the past three years, Mazon has partnered with Qajuqturvik Community Food Centre to support their Inuliqtait country food box program – an initiative designed to circumvent high priced grocery stores and support Indigenous food sovereignty by sourcing meat from local hunters.

In 2024, Mazon is aiming to expand our reach into the hardest hit regions, and, through food, build deeper relationships between Jewish and Indigenous communities. To accomplish this goal, we need your help!


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