b'asked & answered FOOD FOR THOUGHTGetting Grounded:WORLD ARK: How do you define an Indigenous recipe?Indigenous Writer DevonDEVON MIHESUAH: An Indigenous recipe, from my Mihesuah on Reconnectingperspective, is a dish that only uses pre-contact ingredients. When you look at the way tribes with Whats on Our Plates ate historically, they either ate [food] raw, or they roasted it over the fire, or they boiled it Interview by Jason Woods, World Ark contributor or dried it. They didnt create something fancy, and they also wouldnt have dishes that Indigenous farming values, such as cookinghave, say, seal meat mixed with with local ingredients and using sustainablecorn, because that didnt make practices, are major influences on the organicany sense [geographically]. and regenerative farming movements gainingA traditional recipe or dish momentum today. Learning from Indigenousis going to be true to the environmental area where the communities and recognizing their foundingfoods were [living and growing].role in a holistic approach to food and farming is key to feeding families while connecting toHow do these traditional and protecting the world around us.recipes contribute to your For Dr. Devon Mihesuah, an enrolledPHOTOS COURTESYOF DR. DEVON MIHESUAH health and well-being?They are a direct connection citizen of the Choctaw Nation and professorto our culture. We have toIf youre going to cultivate traditional foods, you have to of international cultural understanding at thelearn things like: How didbe active and outside. You have to be moving and doing University of Kansas, this discussion is personal.we prepare [these foods]?things, which also contributes to your well-being.A prolific writer and accomplished historian,How did we cultivate them? Mihesuah has devoted her career to theHow were the seeds saved? To learn all these things, youbecause youre connected tofood sovereignty isTOP RIGHTempowerment and well-being of IndigenousProduce usually have to engage withculture. And if youre goingdecolonizing. Theyre basically peoples. She served as editor of Americanthe elders or knowledgeableto cultivate traditional foods,one and the same. You haveharvested from Mihesuahs Indian Quarterly magazine for nine years,people in your tribe.you have to be active andto ask, What does it meanbackyard garden, including corn, bringing Indigenous voices to the forefront ofTheres also ceremonyoutside. You have to be movingto be colonized? For nativecherry tomatoes, academic writing, and is a dogged proponentassociated with food. Theand doing things, which alsopeople, the colonizer comesjalapeos and chicken eggs. of backyard gardens and preserving Indigenous food culture. Green Corn Dance and givingcontributes to your well-being. in [and] the first thing theyTending to a thanks at certain times of year,do is take your land andgarden cultivates Unless youve got year-round perfect weather or greenhouses, backyard gardensfor example. And there areYour book also talks aboutresources will be diminished orcultural arent going to give you everything you need, she said. But the reason they arecertain [customs] tribes mightfood sovereignty, meaningdestroyed. . If our landscapeconnection, Mihesuah argues, so important is because, for agricultural tribes, backyard gardens are a directdo, like who eats first, whothe ability of Indigenousis altered and the waterwaysalongside the physical benefits connection to that culture. sits where, what utensils youcommunities to define theirare dammed, you cant live theof spending Her book Recovering Our Ancestors Gardens shares traditional recipes, like theuse and what foods are taboo.own food systems. How doessame way you did traditionally. time outside and stuffed bell peppers featured here, and explores ways people can reconnect withOftentimes you only get thatthis concept intersect withAchieving decolonizationkeeping active.[information] by talking todecolonization work, andor Indigenous food sovereignty food in order to better understand Indigenous community, the natural world, andcommunity. So, in that respect,how can we achieve it? is very complicated, because the journey from seedling to sprout to harvest to plate. its important for our well-beingWorking toward Indigenousyou have to consider political, 42| HOLIDAY 2021 HEIFER.ORG |43'