Eating native food

This great article in Al Jazeera America hits a whole bunch of my interests: healthy eating, decolonization, sustainability, preserving culture:  Eating indigenously changes diets and lives of Native Americans. Basically, more than one group of researchers who are also Native Americans have decided to look into seeing if they could eat the way their ancestors ate.

Reinhardt, a professor in the Native American Studies program, was helping to serve up fry bread, Indian tacos and other offerings at the annual First Nations Food Taster, a fund-raising event for the Native American Student Association, when he had an epiphany: “Would my ancestors even recognize this as food?”

If you, like me, are a fan of Michael Pollan’s work, there’s a lot here to find interesting. There is considerable overlap with the “paleo” diet (although the researchers set their time threshold at 1602, rather than the dawn of agriculture) and with the locavore movement (with different locales for different Native American researchers).

The article touches on all sorts of question: Do we even know what they ate? Are the plants and animals still available? Is such a diet healthier than a modern Western diet?

Interesting as the food issues are, the issues having to do with decolonization are at least as interesting, as are the issues having to do with sustainability.

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2 thoughts on “Eating native food”

  1. Fascinating article, thanks for linking!

    We eat a lot of elk (Britt hunts; he just got this year’s animal on Monday!) and especially in the summer, when I buy a lot of veggies at the farmers market, I like to look at our meals and calculate how much of it comes from within 100 miles – usually the majority!

  2. One of my uncles used to get a deer every year. Right about now, my aunt would be clearing out the freezer to make room—and if we stopped by any time in November, we’d usually get some venison. Now we have to buy our exotic meats, which (given our food budget) means we don’t get much.

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