Background Content

Food Insecurity

Centre for Indigenous People’s Nutrition and Environment (CINE)

January 1, 1970

“CINE is a university centre that is unique in the world because of its focus on traditional food systems of Indigenous Peoples. Our interdisciplinary approach to research and education gives exciting depth and breadth to our mission.” Dr. Harriet V. Kuhnlein, CINE Founding Director

CINE was created in response to a need expressed by Aboriginal Peoples for participatory research and education to address their concerns about the integrity of their traditional food systems. Deterioration in the environment has adverse impacts on the health and lifestyles of Indigenous Peoples, in particular nutrition as affected by food and food traditions. Canada’s aboriginal leaders worked together to lobby for funds and to establish a working structure to conduct CINE’s activities. Discussions began in 1989, and resulted in an award for infrastructure funding through the Arctic Environmental Strategy (AES) of the Department of Indian and Northern Development (DIAND), an initiative of Canada’s Green Plan.

CINE Mission

In concert with Indigenous Peoples, CINE will undertake community-based research and education related to traditional food systems. The empirical knowledge of the environment inherent in Indigenous societies will be incorporated into all its efforts.

CINE’s Governing Board has created and approved a set of guiding principles and basic contributions for work with Indigenous Peoples and within McGill University.


  • Document, promote and incorporate traditional knowledge of nutrition and environment
  • Respond to concerns of local communities on their food, food use and environment
  • Develop participatory relationships between communities and scientists for undertaking research in nutrition and ecosystems
  • Encourage continuing consultation, communication and recognition of elders to enhance the relevance of CINE’s work
  • Implement ethics guidelines for research, including those related to intellectual property rights as adopted by University Councils and the CINE Board
  • Provide training to students and other residents of local communities
  • Communicate research findings widely, both nationally and internationally, and contribute to policy developments in areas related to the CINE mission