First Nations Food, Nutrition & Environment Study: Traditional Food Drive & Feast Monday, October 20th, 2014


October 16th, 2014

Dear Members,

The Assembly of First Nations is engaged in a new First Nations Food, Nutrition, and Environment Study that is examining water and traditional foods for environmental contaminants in 12 randomly selected communities in Atlantic Provinces. 

To gather this important environmental health information the AFN will be working with researchers from universities in northern BC and Montreal and will contact your community for help.

For more information call the AFN Environmental Stewardship Unit toll free at 1-866-869-6789 extension 285 or visit our website, or the project’s website at

Further Background Info:

The First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study (FNFNES) aims to gather food and water samples and diet information by region and ecozone from 100 randomly selected First Nation communities across Canada.  This includes information on food security, current traditional and store bought food use, testing of traditional foods for nutrient values and presence of environmental chemicals, testing of drinking water for trace metals and surface water for pharmaceuticals.  This project is jointly run in partnership between the Assembly of First Nations, the Université de Montréal and the University of Northern British Columbia.

Sample collection and data analysis has been completed for 21 First Nations in BC, 9 First Nations in Manitoba, 18 First Nations in Ontario and 11 First Nations in Alberta.  

FNFNES hires community research assistants from every participant community in order to create capacity and provide local employment.  A paid training session is held for all community research assistants to ensure that they are confident and ready to collect data through administration of a household survey.

Each partner First nation collects samples of traditional foods from their community to ship for analysis of chemical contaminants.  Based on the nutritional information collected through the household surveys, results will be presented for each community and for the region as a whole on food security and completeness of diet.  Water is collected from households to test for trace metals such as lead, arsenic, etc.  Participants can also provide a small sample of their hair for mercury analysis.  If any cases of an exceedance is found, the results are immediately communicated to the individual for further action.

Protecting the confidentiality of participating individuals and First Nations is paramount.  Although each participant First Nation is recognized for their contributions and partnership in the study, community results will only be provided and explained separately to each community.

Upon analysis of the community’s data, a presentation will be made to the community by a nutritional research coordinator who will be available to highlight key findings for the community, interpret results, and answer any questions the community members may have.

Each participating First Nation is considered to be the owner of their data which will be returned to the community following data analysis.  Training is also provided to a designated individual(s) from each First Nation in how statistical analysis can be used to further analyze their own data.  The Assembly of First Nations is the data custodian of the data, should any First Nation require additional access to their own data.  This data is securely stored and is only available upon proper request from the First Nation to which it belongs.

Eel Ground First Nation in partnership with the Assembly of First Nations, the Université de Montréal and the University of Northern British Columbia has launched a new study to assess the chemical safety of traditional foods.  This study called the First Nations Food, Nutrition and Environment Study, will take place this fall. 

Community Research Assistants are being hired by the First Nation to conduct questionnaires with 100 randomly selected households.  If selected, you may be asked to answer questions on traditional and market food consumption, to submit a small hair sample to test for mercury and some households will be asked to collect a tap water sample for analysis.  Your participation is each of the components is completely voluntary and all information collected is kept strictly confidential.  The First Nation is considered to be the owner of all data collected.

All Eel Ground First Nation members are also invited to submit samples of traditional foods which will be tested for contaminants.  These may include fish, plants, tree foods, mammals or other foods you might consider to be traditional.  Up to five different samples each of 30 different types of foods will be collected. 

A feast to kick-off the study is being planned for Monday, October 20th, 2014 to take place at the EGFN Band Hall. Please join us to share a meal and learn more about this important study. 

For more information, please contact Gail Hanifan at the Band Hall @627-4600 (C)623-9101 or visit the study’s website:


Schedule of events:

Traditional Feast at EGFN Band Hall           

Monday October 20th, 2014                               

Traditional Food Drive: 1:00pm to 3:00pm (*List of foods requested follows)     

Opening: 3:00pm                                                  

Feast: 3:30 to 4:00pm                                              

Presentation: 4:00pm to 5:00pm                         

Drumming: 5:00pm to Closing                                                    

Community Contact:                                

Gail Hanifan: (C)623-9101 or 627-4600  


List of Traditional Foods for Food Drive:

These foods have to be in a form that they would be eaten in the community.

Moose Muscle, Moose Liver, Moose Heart, Moose Nose, Moose Tongue, Deer Muscle, Deer  Liver, Deer Heart, Smelt, Salmon, Striped Bass, Shad, Trout, Gaspereau, Eel, Rabbit, Partridge, Brown Trout, Lobster, Crabs, Choke Cherries, Hazelnut, Wild Apples, Muskrat root, Fiddleheads, Raspberries, Rhubarb & Wild Blue berries.