Lilian HillExecutive Director

Organization: Native Food Sovereignty Alliance
Location: Kykotsmovi, AZ

Social Media: @redfox_hill

Current work in response to COVID-19: Lilian Hill is delivering delicious and healthy food safely to elders, while raising funds to support an indigenous-led effort to grow, provide, and support food sovereignty for the Hopi Nation. 

I’m excited to be a Castanea Fellow… to nurture my work and engage with others who envision an ecologically regenerative, economically viable and socially just future.

What is the challenge your work addresses?

I am dedicated to creating community-based Indigenous-led organizations to address the challenges of global economic colonization, resource extraction, climate change, and inequities in our food and housing systems. It has been my goal to create community resilience to adapt to changing conditions over time by developing social and physical infrastructure that can withstand these external factors. 

I have helped to develop projects that develop community capacity to strengthen local food and housing systems, promote traditional ecological knowledge, develop local food markets and co-ops, and grow social consciousness around the importance of continuing our traditions as Indigenous farmers and seed stewards.

What strategies are you using to address the challenge?

By re-localizing and re-establishing community food systems and supporting the growth of local food economies, we strengthen  our community’s resilience to disruptions in transportation, economic recession, extreme changes in climate and natural weather patterns. We increase access to affordable energy-efficient housing and healthy, nutritious and spiritual food.

There is a need to strengthen and elevate the voices and innovative efforts being led by Indigenous communities to rebuild Tribal food systems and economies.

I would like to explore pre-colonial ancestral practices that have endured within diverse Indigenous communities and how these practices are central to rebuilding and nurturing food economies based on Indigenous cultural lifeways, ancestral knowledge and memory, spiritual connection and community empowerment. I would like to address historical and recurring issues relating to colonization, internal oppression, inequities, racism and efforts underway to heal these wounds through reparation, truth and reconciliation, decolonization and nurturing partnership in movement building. 

I introduce a unique perspective: the development of an Indigenized Regenerative Food Economy based on ancestral wisdom. Indigenous communities provide a nexus for this new path.. As a permaculture designer and an Indigenous farmer, it makes sense that our economic system be modeled around the resilience, beauty and dynamism of natural living systems.

What does success look like to you?

Being engaged in my work has taught me that Hopi Agricultural and Housing Systems are resilient and that there are multiple ways and strategies to maintain, restore and strengthen these systems. There is much work to be done; his work will surely surpass my current generation. Like our farms, gardens, and orchards, it needs to be continually re-fortified and nurtured by the next generation.

Success and impact is and will continue to be seen in the continued production of local heirloom seeds for the next generations, in the clean spring waters that are nurtured by the hands of our community during annual spring restoration, in the healthy food grown by spiritual farmers, it will be felt by animals, insects, soil life, and humans as their habitat is renewed, and it will be carried on by the youth who have received training and educational opportunities from our organization.

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