In 2020, the Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network (IFKN) initiated a comparative study of COVID-19 impacts on Indigenous food access, security, and sovereignty in Alaska and the Southwest U.S. This project aims to understand the impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous food security and food systems, with a focus on identifying innovations that have supported access to food, including Indigenous foods, since the start of the pandemic.

This project employs a community-driven methodology involving Indigenous research partners from Alaska and the U.S. Southwest. A research advisory committee (RAC) comprised of members of the existing Indigenous Foods Knowledges Network (IFKN) is guiding project design, implementation, and dissemination of results. Information is being collected through remotely conducted interviews with around 35 subject matter experts from the Arctic and Southwest. Thematic coding and analysis will allow us to identify commonalities and differences between communities and across the two regions. Participants will have the chance to review and contribute to the analysis. This project will provide a baseline assessment of the impact of COVID-19 on subsistence practices, traditional food knowledge, and food access. Improved understanding of the obstacles to food security and the resiliencies in Indigenous foodways will enable both communities and policy makers to plan proactively for future adverse events.

The project is funded by the NSF Office of Polar Programs (Arctic Social Sciences) program under a collaborative Rapid Response Research (RAPID) award (award numbers 2035161, led by Dr. Stephanie Russo Carroll, and 2035233, led by Dr. Noor Johnson).



Research Advisory Committee

Kaare Sikuaq Erickson
Ikaaġun Engagement
Lydia Jennings
Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Arizona (Wixárika & Pascua Yaqui)
Amy Juan
Sovereign Remedies LLC (Tohono O'odham)
Shawna Larson
Chickaloon Village Traditional Council (Ahtna Athabascan and Supiaq)
Wendy Todd
Department of American Indian Studies/Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Minnesota Duluth (Haida)
Althea Walker
Climate Science Alliance (Akimel O’otham)

Research Implementation Team

Stephanie Russo Carroll
College of Public Health & Native Nations Institute, University of Arizona (Ahtna Athabascan)
Daniel Ferguson
Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona
Mary Beth Jäger
Native Nations Institute (NNI), University of Arizona (Citizen Potawatomi)
Noor Johnson
National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado Boulder - IFKN Principal Investigator