Kincentricity and Indigenous Wellbeing Food(ways) and/as Holistic Health in the Native Medicine Wheel

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Rachel Presley


This manuscript explores the rhetorical coupling of food as a holistic health initiative across two Indigenous organizations—Indian Health Services (IHS) and the American Indian Cancer Foundation (AICF). Drawing upon contemporary literatures of rhetorical ecologies, I position “kincentricity” (Salmón, 2000, 2012) as a particularly provocative framework to reconceptualize the body as its own rhetorical ecosystem, contending that Indigenous dimensions of RHM offer radically creative ways to decolonize the body/body politic. My analysis demonstrates the
ways in which IHS and AICF engage in kincentric logics to repurpose rhetorics of food within the Native medicine wheel, most notably by emphasizing (1) pre-Columbian diets, (2) traditional harvesting and cooking methods, and (3) spiritual food-based rituals—all of which explicitly link tribal food(ways) to bodily wellbeing. Finally, this essay encourages RHM scholars to reorient rhetorical vocabularies and understandings toward more pluralistic and non-Western accounts of health, medicine, and collective wellness.

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