Enter To Win An Indigenous Cookbook
Congratulations to the winner of the previous giveaway, the Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen Recipe Book by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley, Toni S. from Oregon!
See the rules page for more details.
History of Native American Foods
What common foods are Indigenous to the Americas?
How did Native Americans prepare ingredients?
Native American foods vary in region and season. They utilized the land and grew crops together that complimented each other—for example, the three sister plants (corn, beans, and squash.) You can learn more about the Three Sister Method and download a free recipe here: www.npraprogram.org/3sisters
James Adair (an Irish tradesman who wrote a book about his 40 years residing with Southeast Woodland tribes) wrote that Native Americans ate berries and fruits raw but cooked most other foods. He was impressed with their culinary skills and said: "It is surprising to see the great variety of dishes they can make out of wild flesh, corn beans, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, dried fruits, herbs and roots. They can diversify their courses, as much as the English, or perhaps French cooks: and either of the ways they dress their food, it is grateful to a wholesome stomach." 2
How did removal from homelands affect Native American cuisine?
The removal of Native Americans from their homelands to reservations resulted in them losing knowledge of traditions. They weren't familiar with their new territory's local fauna and flora. And some indigenous cooking traditions were passed down orally. The U.S. military gave them rations of canned goods, flour, sugar, and lard to survive. 3
The closest there is to an across-the-board Native American dish is frybread, and it was a result of ingenuity based on their new resources. "Frybread, a barebones dish of dough fried in oil or lard, was invented by desperate mothers in the 19th century in the wake of the Long Walk, a tragic 300-mile trek in which Indians from Arizona were forcibly relocated to New Mexico" ... "Frybread packs a caloric punch. A pancake-sized serving contains 700 calories and 25 grams of fat. Nutritionists hold the ubiquitous fry bread at least partly to blame for the present-day epidemics of obesity and diabetes among Native American populations." 3
How has this impacted Indigenous food security and sovereignty?
Loss of knowledge and homelands has greatly affected Native communities in terms of food security. Did you know 1 in 4 Native Americans experiences food insecurity compared to 1 in 9 Americans? Rural reservations often mean little access to healthy foods. Many of those we serve are an hour or more from the nearest grocery stores, so the only locally available food is usually convenience-store fare.
How PWNA is helping with your support:
With the support of generous donors and friends like you, we’re working to change these disparities and create self-sufficient Native American communities. We help meet immediate nutritional needs for thousands annually (especially Native American Elders) by working with local grocery stores to provide Native Elders with nutritious breakfast items. You can learn more about our Breakfast-In-A-Bag Program here: www.nativepartnership.org/bnb
We also encourage self-sufficiency by tilling garden sites and providing supplies and training on preserving and cooking traditional foods. Click here to learn more about Project Grow.
Share this page with a friend to help raise awareness of Native American culture.
1 https://www.upress.umn.edu/book-division/books/the-sioux-chef 2 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352618116300750 3 https://www.nationalgeographic.com/culture/article/native-american-cuisine-returns-to-its-roots
See the rules for this giveaway here.