About This Project
In the Choctaw language, "Nan Awaya" means a "Place of Growth". It refers to the location in present-day Mississippi, where, according to Choctaw origin stories, God created the Choctaw people from the earth. We call our farm "Nan Awaya" out of respect for our Indigenous ancestors' connection with the land, and in the hope that this farm can be a place of learning and growth.
Both of us have spent a good part of our lives to this point learning and teaching Choctaw traditional culture. This culture comes from 600 generations of accumulated experiences that our ancestors built with the landscapes of their homeland and with each other. Far more than just something of the past, Choctaw culture contains practical wisdom and knowledge for living on this planet that is as relevant today as it ever was.
Nan Awaya Farm is a hands-on effort to apply the knowledge and perspectives of Choctaw traditional culture to the realities and challenges of the 21st century. We have four primary goals: to restore the native diversity of the land we steward, to help revitalize healthy Choctaw traditional cuisine, help reconnect our community with the land, and help enliven Indigenous Choctaw culture.
In 2015, we bought a degraded piece of land on the Choctaw Nation Reservation and went to work. We started restoring the native prairie and savanna landscapes of the farm, reintroducing American bison, offering community cultural activities out on a vibrant landscape, creating the Choctaw Food book, hosting a blog, building a green home, selling bison meat, and much more, all while continuing to serve in our day jobs for the Tribe.
By candidly chronicling some of the ups and downs on the journey of Nan Awaya Farm, we hope to build a conversation around practical cultural revitalization, sustainability, and quality of life in the 21st century.