‘Soil justice’: How US Indigenous communities are using their land to overcome racial neglect
By Anthony J. Wallace
The New Humanitarian
April 7, 2022
A half-hour drive south of Gallup, New Mexico, the elevation rises and the sprawling desert turns to a hilly, mint green landscape covered in piñon trees and fields of wild sage – staple plants in Navajo traditional medicine and spirituality. Unlike many Native American tribes forced to resettle permanently in different parts of the country, the reservation today lies on the tribe’s historical homeland, encompassing parts of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
Over centuries, the Navajo people developed a time-tested system for thriving physically and spiritually on this land. In that area today, near the community of Vanderwagen, lies Spirit Farm, a “regenerative farm” founded in 2014 with a goal to “recover and reclaim traditional farming and spiritual practices, along with modern practices, to establish resiliency in our way of life”. Among the farm’s aims is to inspire Indigenous people to grow their own food – a potential solution to persistent health disparities rooted in historical racial injustice.