Two weeks ago I had the great pleasure of going to the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit at Red Lake Nation in MN. This was a gathering of many nations to celebrate food and culture of the indigenous peoples of the Great Lakes region and beyond!
I was invited to teach a native food demo to a group of local high school students at Red Lake Nation. I cooked a kale and watermelon salad with toasted pumpkin seeds and red onion.
I’m so glad the the Bemidji Pioneer featured me and the Food Summit in their newspaper!
At the Food Summit, we hosted an Indigenous Food Festival for the wider community in the pow-wow arena at Red Lake College, where each chef had a tasting table of different indigenous foods they prepared.
I will showcase each chef and the delicious food they prepared for us!
Brian Yazzie is the Chef de Cuisine for the Sioux Chef. Brian is from Dennehotso, AZ on the Navajo Nation. And is now living in the Minneapolis, MN and working with the Tatanka truck, which focuses on traditional native healthy foods with a modern twist. Brian made Green chile and blue corn soup with Navajo kneel down bread. If you want to learn about kneel down bread and it’s history, check out this video:
Sean Sherman ( Sioux Chef ) is Ogalala Lakota, and born in Pine Ridge, SD. Sean has been cooking in the great lakes region for over 25 years. He made a delicious crabapple broth with stewed rabbit, maple roasted sunchokes and roasted mushrooms. Sean is one of most well known indigenous chefs and will soon opening a restaurant. I feel so honored to learn from him! Check out his awesome website and food gallery here:
Tashia Hart is a culinary ethnobotanist and is Ojibwe from Red Lake Nation. Tashia is now living in the Twin Cities and works with the Sioux Chef. Tashia made sunflower seed thumbprint cookies with blueberry, crabapple and bergamont. ( with photo)
Angie Ferguson and Onondaga cookhouse ladies came to share from Onondaga Nation in central NY, which is part of Iroquois Confederacy. Angie and her partner Roger and all the other Onondagas made lots of wonderful food such as venison and ash lyed hominy stew, smoked white fish and much more! If you want to learn how to nixtamalize corn with wood ash ( which is an indigenous technique to soften and make corn more nutritious ) click this link
Neftali Duran is from Oaxaca, Mexico but is now living in Springfield, MA. He now works with Nuestras Raíces (“Our Roots”), a Holyoke-based organization that describes itself as “a grassroots urban agriculture organization.” At the food fest Neftali made wonderful venison tacos! Oaxaca is known for there delicious mole and sauces and Neftali doesn’t let them down!! . Neftali makes wonderful salsas, sauces and marinades that are packed with flavor!
I also got to make a dish for the festival! If you want to see what I made for the food fest, click the recipe tab at the top of this page for an adaptation of a kale and wild rice salad.
After the food summit was over, there was tons of delicious and nutritious food left over! So we donated all the prepared food ( soups, and salads and meats) to a indigenous youth block party at Red Lake Nation. It felt so good to give back to the community! We met so many young folks who enjoyed eating the traditional foods of their people. I hope every food summit can end with such generosity!!
I will be back next week to share more stories and culinary adventures! In the meanwhile, please try out my recipe, and let me know how it how you liked the flavors!!
A big huge thank you to all the chefs who taught me so much and were so kind and generous with their knowledge and time! I am such a lucky girl! Thank you for welcoming me into your native hearths.
Also, come find me on Instagram at Native_Hearth!
*Photo credit Elizabeth Hoover and Rowen White.