The 2018 Intertribal Agriculture Council’s annual Membership Meeting was held December 10-13 at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Among the 700+ attendees were over 100 Tribal youth from across the nation.
The Southwest Intertribal Food Summit was held on October 26-27 in Taos, New Mexico at Taos County Economic Development Corporation (TCEDC), Red Willow Farm, and Taos Pueblo. Building upon the success of past Intertribal Food Summits, as well as many past events in the Southwest such as the TOCA Basketry Celebration, this event featured foods and knowledge of the region with additional perspective and contributions from across the country.
The event’s first day was hosted at TCEDC in the morning and Red Willow Farm in the afternoon. The morning included several hands-on sessions and presentations.
As an Intertribal Food Summit, Indigenous and Native-produced foods were incorporated into both the menu and educational programming. Ray Naranjo, Loretta Barrett Oden, Elena Terry, Tanya Brant, Darryl Montana, Kaya Deerinwater, several Taos Pueblo community members, and several others helped make a fantastic variety of foods that kept everyone well-nourished throughout the event.
Red Willow Farm provided a perfect setting for afternoon educational sessions and networking. Among the interactive sessions was a cacao processing workshop led by Julio Saqui from Belize.
Saturday’s events moved to Taos Pueblo, one of the oldest continuously inhabited communities on Turtle Island.
Like other Intertribal Food Summits, the local foods of Taos Pueblo and the broader region were prominently featured throughout the event, including these unique foods within the Pueblo.
The seed rematriation of an ancestral Taos Pueblo squash was one of Saturday’s many highlights.
Weather can be unpredictable for almost every outdoor event. Late October in northern New Mexico can be warm and sunny, cold and snowy, or almost any variation in between. Fortunately, this event had perfect weather, making the event an even more memorable and inspiring experience.
Thank you to Taos Pueblo for hosting.
Slow Food Turtle Island Association sent an official delegation to Slow Terra Madre in Turin, Italy for the second time in 2018. While Native delegates have attended this event since its inception, this official delegation is an important step forward in reclaiming our narrative and presence on these type of global platforms.
Join the University of Wisconsin Law School’s Great Lakes Indigenous Law Center and the Intertribal Agriculture and partners, including the University of Wisconsin Center for Cooperatives, the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA), for a Roundtable on Tribal Cooperative Development and Value Added Products in Madison, Wisconsin on Tuesday morning, June 5th. In addition to this half-day session, there are several related events occurring in Madison from June 4-6, including the
- Food Sovereignty on Turtle Island Symposium that is part of the Ethnobotany Conference
- Indigenous Foods Tasting Menu from The Sioux Chef
- update on the new Indigenous Seed Sovereignty Collaboration with UW-Madison and the Indigenous Seed Keepers Network
- Traditional Tools Workshop led by Kevin Finney, and
- an Indigenous Foods Banquet Dinner from The Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman
Registration for the Ethnobotany Conference is required to attend the Food Sovereignty on Turtle Island Symposium on Monday, June 4th. We do have a limited number of registrations for that conference, as well as lodging support. Please contact email@example.com to RSVP or for more information.
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.
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.
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.
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!!