About Skabewis

Editor for News From Indian Country and IndianCountryTV.com - lives on the Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe Reservation in Wisconsin. Member of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin (Bear Clan) and of Ojibwe descent (Clan Morrison) with a smidgen of Mohawk and Delaware. Involved in educational media work, training and special projects with the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) and food sovereignty initiatives.

Report: 2018 Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Food Summit

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The Meskwaki Red Gardens as seen in the distant and the Meskwaki Bingo and Casino convention center to the right, played host to the 2018 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit, held May 9-13, at the Meskwaki Settlement near Tama, Iowa.

Over five days a couple hundred participants, presenters, vendors and visitors spent time learning about traditional foods, understanding plants, food issues, uses for medicine, mentoring with Indigenous chefs, consulting with gardeners and others involved in the greater Native Food Sovereignty movement.

A final report and photo display is presented here to celebrate the new found relationships, the intellectual feed and the gorgeous food that was provided and cooked by our chefs while at the Meskwaki Settlement with both traditional and contemporary production practices utilized. There were over 60 workshops for hands-on learning opportunities and for asking about or sharing information.

The Summit opened up on Wednesday May 9th with sunny skies and over a dozen hands-on workshops involving traditional implements like making Botagens (Corn Mortars), building a Wikiup (Traditional Meskwaki structures), constructing Haudenosaunee Planting Sticks, Cooking Paddles, Pottery and Birch Bark Canisters.  Stealing the day in a special way, was the putting down of a Bison and its butchering — involving some of the chefs and many volunteers who watched and participated in identifying and separating numerous bison parts for food, ceremonial and craft supply needs.

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While many of the workshops that followed that morning were pre-registered and some with a small cost, no participants who wanted to watch or converse about any of the topics were turned away.  These hands-on workshops, some which took place on other days as well, included a number of demonstrations of finished products and give participants a connection to the implements that they might prefer to work with in the garden and craft shop if they were to undertake various tasks such as grinding corn or wild rice in a traditional botagen as seen below (lower left).  Also participants made clay pots and viewed the proper use of a Haudenosaunee planting stick after making one for themselves.

Photos by DKakkak and Paul DeMain

Several afternoon workshops involved technical information presented by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) and Indian Health Service representatives who introduced both conservation planning and IHS food safety training for handling and processing food safely and provided information on other programs and funding that might be available for tribal communities to access.

During the following days participants had over 60 workshop to participate in with great discussions that took place through-out the Red Gardens of the Meskwaki Settlement and from inside their Hotel-Casino Convention Center. Always a favorite were discussions about seeds, trading seeds, planting trends, ricing and making maple or other types of syrup and value added products for the home cupboard or vending.

 

Some of workshops included Making Wood Ash Hominy, (Ojibwe, Oneida, Onondaga Styles) along with a traditional Meskwaki Traditional Foods  Demo, making Milkweed Soup, Processing and Using Acorn Flour and many other activities that brought the community around a newly erected cooking pavilion that will be available in the future for the community to use. During the conference the cooking pavilion was used for both display of goods, baskets, clay pots, traditional cooking tools, and for experimental use of cooking —  for example a batch of maple syrup was rendered down to sugar, in a clay pot, an event that some people in the maple industry have claimed  (outside of the Indigenous Community) could not be done, or was too inefficient.

As much as the butchering of the bison took up a lot of attention, the ethical use of animal and food products have always been stressed as necessary both to ensure an abundance of food product supplies in the future but also to maintain a good spiritual relationship of respect as well. For example some people enjoyed participating in both the butchering and the preparation of squirrel, ducks and beaver and followed the process through into the kitchen and on to the serving table.

Others who had followed the butchering of the bison took on the responsibility to make sure that every part of the bison was utilized to the best of our ability, on the spot, while others spent hours helping tanning hides for future use.

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Of course one of the greatest assets that the annual Great Lakes Intertribal Summit brings to the table is the large number of Indigenous chefs who organize themselves and the menu, a lot of time based on what is donated or shows up from around the country. Each year the team of chefs seem to out do themselves while showcasing the idea that Indian Country once provided for all their own food needs, and from a local base of seasonal products at that.

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The chefs work with diverse foods, diets, spices and cooking facilities to over come all kind of obstacles that occur when you show up with almost nothing but a whole lot of culinary cooking skills, knowledge and ice cooler donations of meats, plants, spices, nuts, flours and other supplies from all across Indian Country. And here are some of the results of five days of culinary heaven (for some).

Don’t be mad, be hungry and attend next year’s Intertribal Food Summit.

 

A special thanks to Dave Shananaquet for the painting he made during the conference and his donation of it during the auction that helped raise money for student projects and stipends for our future culinary youth.


And our greatest gratitude to the people of the Meskwaki Settlement, and their Food Sovereignty Initiative, all who went out of their way to host our organization and the many visitors that came from through-out the North American continent. The success of the event was based on their input and help that we received from the community and each and every participant.  THANK YOU!!

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Three videos on Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines at Red Lake Summit

Register and get more information on the 2018 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit to be held May 9-13, 2018 in Tama, Iowa on the Meskwaki Nation.

 

#1. Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines: Hyssop

The Red Lake Ojibwe Nation and Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) take you on a short walk along part of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation’s, Red Lake and the woods that surround it foraging for food, fuel and medicines as part of the Great Lakes Intertribal Fall Food Summit held at Red Lake, Minnesota during September of 2016.

#2. Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines: American Basswood

Here is Kevin Finny, Director of the Jijak Foundation for the Gun Lake Pottawatomi in Michigan speaking about the use of American Basswood, one of several species of trees identified during the fall 2016 Intertribal Food Summit held on the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation during September.

#3.Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines: Milkweed

With Kevin Finney, executive director of the Gun Lake Pottawatomi’s Jijak Foundation and Tashia Hart of the Sioux Chef Team in the woods and fields of Red Lake Ojibwe Reservation foraging for food, fuel and medicines as part of the Great Lakes Intertribal Fall Food Summit sponsored by the Intertribal Agriculture Council during September of 2016.

Processing parched corn into Hominy

By Paul DeMain

Many workshops offered during the recent Great Lakes Inter-Tribal Food Summits of 2016 at Red Lake, Minnesota, Madison and Camp Jijak in 2016 and 2017 have involved the gathering/harvesting of resources and their processing of some of these foods into Value Added Products (VAP) for storage, future, or a diversity of uses in their new condition. Some products gathered are always used on site in order to facilitate sharing of traditional food preparations and ancient or contemporary recipes.

Amongst those products include what the Ojibwe called Mandamin (The Great Seed) or corn and for which there has been some 350+ varieties amongst tribes identified so far. May varieties of Indian corn have been lost —  to history, maybe Mansanto, or caches that are yet to be found. A good example might be the White Flint Corn described as growing on Madeline Island, in Lake Superior — also know as the former capital of the Ojibwe Nation, a variety of corn that is described as growing there in the 1700s.  While it is possible, and probably likely, that the White Flint grown there is related to other northern Wisconsin, Great Lakes or Island flints that are well known, (Like Bear Island White Flint) and could be connected genetically to the Madeline Island gardens, to date there has not been a Madeline Island White Flint Corn seed, or seed cache identified in seed repositories, museums or private collections.

Jijak_#1George_Cooking_HominyLac Courte Oreilles Ojibwe elder George Martin, assisted by Buddy Raphael (not shown) discuss the boiling process for making parched corn into hominy. Raphael says he likes to let his corn dry for over a year before using it for cooking and other needs.

After the parched corn is boiled in an alkaline solution for a lengthy time period, in this case hardwood ashes and for some tribes maple ashes in particular rather then lye, lime or baking soda, the corn is then transported to a screen for further cleaning. By now, a thin outer shell and little seed connection nub should come off easily from the corn kernel when rubbed between two fingers. The boiling in ash, or lime process changes the chemistry of the corn, contributes calcium, potassium and trace minerals to the corn and makes it more nutritious while at the same time loosening a thin outer shell casing from the kernel.

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The cooked corn is transported to a screen for further cleaning, drying and discussions with Camp Jijak participants.

The Oneida’s of Wisconsin hand pick and dehydrate much of their white flint corn and then prepare it in this similar manner and in some cases they will boil it again for grinding and making corn meal while adding kidney beans and making small round loafs to refrigerate for storage. Hopi people of the Southwest used ground blue corn mixed with small amounts of willow wood ash to prepare piki, a thin, crepe-like, blue bread. A porridge made from hominy in the south is called grits. Many tribes had their own technique for preparing their corn for future storage and seed keepers have identified over 300 varieties of corn grown historically in Indian Country with some sweet varieties not suitable for making hominy.

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Below: Buddy Raphael provides some traditional teachings and advice for making corn hominy.

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For more information on programs provided by the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) you can go on the net here:  IAC

Other Youtube videos from Camp Jijak.

Seed Keepers and Rowen White

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Photos by D.Kakkak

One of the world’s wonderful speakers about the nature of, treatment, care and planting of seeds is Akwesasne Mohawk seed keeper Rowen White. Through several workshops in the Great Lakes and at the Gun Lake Pottawatomi tribes’ Camp Jijak in 2016 and 2017 White has led discussions on the cultural treatment, history and love of seeds that Indigenous people have.

White also brought some of her wonderful and extensive seed collections to assist in teaching people about the role of labeling, organizing, acclimating and caring for seeds for storage and planting. At just about any event that Rowen attends, there will be an abundance of seeds to look at, and in many cases share or exchange.

According to Rowen White “once you step on the seed keepers path, you will have more seeds then you know what to do with, because seeds, they are always multiplying exponentially.”

Many of the conferences, sponsored in part by the Inter-Tribal Agricultural Council (IAC) are meant to help bring and grow opportunities for American Indian farmers, growers, forage and gatherers and enhance the ability of Indigenous communities to become food self-sufficient once again.

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Sapping, syrup and sugar – Jijak 2017

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Maple sugar used to be packaged in 65lb mukuks, or birchbark baskets by the Ojibwe Anishinabeg of the Great Lakes.  65lbs of maple = about 8.1 gallons of syrup. You can learn a lot more about historic and contemporary sapping, making maple syrup or sugar and the kinds of trees you can tap at this years Great Lakes Food Summit coming up April 19-23rd, 2017 in Hopkins, Michigan.

Live Broadcast – Food Sovereignty Symposium & Festival

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The Food Sovereignty Symposium and Festival is just about ready, and meal tickets are going fast for the March 10-12 event on the University of Wisconsin campus and surrounding sites in Madison, Wisconsin. The symposium component of the event is focusing on Indigenous and broader topics of food sovereignty that impact how communities and individuals control and manage their food systems, and the festival component is a celebration of Indigenous, local, and regional foods hosted by several very famous and mouth watering Indigenous chefs — preparing our daily meals.

CLICK MORE LINK FOR SCHEDULE and Meal Tickets: https://food-sovereignty.com/

LIVE BROADCASTING BY IndianCountryTV.com :

LIVE Friday March 10th:
1-4:30pm

#1 Rowen White – Seed Sovereignty, Janie Hipp with the Tribal Food Code Project:

#2. Dan Cornelius, Jessie Conaway, Reynaldo Morales and Martin Reinhardt on Climate Change, Treaty Rights and Natural Resources:

#3. Elizabeth Hoover, Brian Yazzie and Richard Monette reflecting on Standing Rock.

LIVE: Saturday March 11th:

#1. 9:15-10am – Rowen White on Seeds, Sovereignty and Building for the Future.

#2. 10:00-12am – Taste of Tribes Brunch – and All Star Native chef team.

#3. 12:00am – Keynote with Elizabeth Hoover on Food Sovereignty Today.

WATCH IT HERE AT IndianCountryTV

Don’t forget to join us at the 2017 Great Lakes Intertribal food Summit at Camp Jijak April 20-23, 2017.

Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines at Great Lakes Fall Food Summit

#1. Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines: Hyssop

The Red Lake Ojibwe Nation and Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) take you on a short walk along part of the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation’s, Red Lake and the woods that surround it foraging for food, fuel and medicines as part of the Great Lakes Intertribal Fall Food Summit held at Red Lake, Minnesota during September of 2016.

 

#2. Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines: American Basswood

Here is Kevin Finny, Director of the Jijak Foundation for the Gun Lake Pottawatomi in Michigan speaking about the use of American Basswood, one of several species of trees identified during the fall 2016 Intertribal Food Summit held on the Red Lake Ojibwe Nation during September.

#3. Foraging for Food, Fuel and Medicines: Milkweed

With Kevin Finney, executive director of the Gun Lake Pottawatomi’s Jijak Foundation and Tashia Hart of the Sioux Chef Team in the woods and fields of Red Lake Ojibwe Reservation foraging for food, fuel and medicines as part of the Great Lakes Intertribal Fall Food Summit sponsored by the Intertribal Agriculture Council during September of 2016.

 

 

#4. Sapping Black Walnut and other trees

Forest Specialist Kevin Finney discusses a few things they learned while sapping Black Walnut trees — one of them, the emergence of a by-product called pectin.

As part of the Food Sovereignty movement in Indian Country the Intertribal Agricultural Council and the Red Lake Ojibwe held a Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit in Red Lake during September of 2016 featuring foraging for food, workshops on soil, traditional economies, and related subjects while featuring several Indigenous chefs and Native cuisine for two days.