Author Archives: Skabewis
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.
Lac 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.
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.
Below: Buddy Raphael provides some traditional teachings and advice for making corn hominy.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
#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.
One of the featured workshops of the Intertribal Food Summits that have been held in the Great Lakes region is the Foraging for Food workshops. At the up and coming Red Lake Intertribal Food Summit during September 16 & 17th it is called “Harvesting from the Forest” and will be led by Tashia Hart of Red Lake, who works with the Sioux Chef, Sean Sherman. Several other participants will be assisting in identifying and harvesting for the feasts, plants and medicines that are commonly used by Indigenous people for health and nutrition.
The Jijak Foundation, Red Lake Ojibwe, Oneida Nation and the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) have focused their Great Lakes regional conferences on food sovereignty, Native harvesting, and Indigenous culinary development.
Collecting and Evaporating Maple sap at Jijak Food Summit 2016
Paul DeMain and the Intertribal Agriculture Council take you on a short walk along part of Camp Jijak’s Maple sapping lines and then over to the Jijak Foundation’s Sugar Shack built at the camp for use by members of the Gun Lake Pottawatomi Tribe. Kevin Finney, the Executive Director of the Jijak Foundation explains some of the things to consider when using an evaporator for making syrup during the spring 2016 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit near Hopkins, Michigan.
Jijak Food Summit: Maple & Sapping 2016
Kevin Finney the Director of the Gun Lake Pottawatomi’s Jijak Foundation and camp describes to visitors the beginning of a renewal in local tribal interest in tapping for Maple and other species for sugar, syrup, food and medicinal products. The Jijak Foundation and the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) have focused several Great Lakes regional conferences on food sovereignty, Native harvesting, and Indigenous culinary development.
By Paul DeMain
Intertribal Agriculture Council
The Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC) through its Great Lakes office in Wisconsin is proud to participate in a cooperative effort with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection called “Buy Local, Buy Wisconsin – Wisconsin Wild Rice to Madison” during the 2015 and 2016 ricing seasons. The effort, which calls for the purchase, processing and marketing of wild rice into Madison, Wisconsin in a test approach, has allowed some analysis of both supply and demand, and marketing needs for this traditional culinary treat revered by Indigenous people through-out the Great Lakes. Read the rest of this entry
The 2016 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit held at Gun Lake Pottawatomi’s Jijak Camp from April 21-24 was a tremendous success due to an amazing turnout of individuals and groups willing to share their unique skills and knowledge.
Search #foodsummit and #jijak at Facebook and Twitter for event pictures and posts and go to the link provided here for a beautiful layout of photos and narratives from the event: