Eating Indigenous – Reconnecting with Food Traditions

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown October 30th, 2013 Last Updated on: October 30th, 2013

After serving frybread and Indian tacos at a fundraiser for the Native American Student Association at Northern Michigan University, Marty Reinhardt had an epiphany.  Would his ancestors even recognize the food they were eating today?  This led him on a year-long quest to decolonize his food.

For a full year Professor Reinhardt and a group of 25 volunteer subjects swapped out a percentage of their daily diets with foods that would have been a part of the Great Lakes diet prior to the year 1600.  Squash, bison and wild leeks were just some of the foods that made up the new diet.  Anything that wasn't available for purchase at the store would have to be grown, hunted, fished or foraged.

Do you feel up for the challenge?

Here's a link to a Venison and Bison meatloaf recipe to get things started.

You can read the full article on indigenous foods and diet on the Al Jazeera America website.  Visit the Decolonizing Diet Project Blog for more information on their research initiative.

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About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with PowWows.com readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.

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Karen Nakamura

I had some incredible acorn flour pancakes once.

Gwen J. Turner

I spent one whole day there this summer and cried from the moment I entered. Some things made me mad, all made me proud. I am so mad at myself and so very sorry that I never talked to my maternal grandmother and paternal grandfather in depth about their People and their families. I missed out on learning my heritage.


I’m wondering: What do you think about the Mitsitam cookbook from the Museum of the American Indian in Washington, DC? They offer fry bread recipes as well as salmon, bison, corn and beans recipes, to name just a few; in a kind of ‘pan-Native/1st Nations’ cookbook.

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