Four of 15 Onondaga Nation tribal citizend who came to share their culinary talents at the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit in Hopkins, Michigan two years ago. Native News Online photograph by Levi Rickert.
Published April 6, 2018
Meskwaki Nation Welcomes Indigenous Food Producers, Harvesters and Chefs to Tama, Iowa
TAMA, IOWA – Today, the Sac & Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa, aka Meskwaki Nation, and Meskwaki Food Sovereignty Initiative (MFSI) announced they will be hosting the 2018 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit in partnership with Intertribal Agricultural Council (IAC) and Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance (NAFSA). The event will be held May 9th-13th on the Meskwaki Settlement in Tama, IA, and will feature a concurrent Youth Summit.
The Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit is a regional, travelling summit, and the Meskwaki Nation will be the fourth respective Tribal host for the event. Past hosts have been Oneida Nation, Gun Lake Tribe and Red Lake Nation. The annual event brings together several hundred Native farmers, ranchers, gardeners, chefs, businesses, policymakers, Tribal agriculture staff, Native non-profits working in agriculture, food producers and Tribal leaders to share and learn together around traditional food and agriculture, and food sovereignty.
The Summit highlights traditional and contemporary Native American foods and culinary arts. Meals featuring indigenous and Native-produced ingredients, some wild foraged from local areas, will be prepared and served by leading indigenous chefs from across North America. Indigenous chefs will also hold small, hands-on workshops showcasing traditional cooking knowledge and food preparation while mentoring attending youth. A Native market showcasing Tribal food products and indigenous arts will be featured throughout the event.
The event opens on Wednesday, May 9th with the morning dedicated to longer hands-on workshops within traditional skills and technologies, including a traditional pottery build, carving of cooking paddles, and construction of wickiups, or traditional Meskwaki structures. Wednesday afternoon will shift focus to in-depth presentations on conservation planning and food safety, with option to receive certifications in these areas.
Thursday, May 10th commences the main portion of the Summit, and offers daily presentations on topics such as sustainability, food security, production practices, traditional harvest and meal preparation. There will be several opportunities to work directly with top indigenous chefs, as well as connect with Native harvesters and producers to forage in the local woods.
In-depth workshops feature seed banks and seed saving, discussions on sapping and sugaring a variety of trees, current and historic economies of indigenous foods, treaty resource inventories and natural resource management, soil conservation, small scale farming, foraging, harvesting and processing of a variety of products, butchering techniques and much more.
The Summit is open to all. There are many opportunities to learn, explore and collaborate on issues of food sovereignty in Indian Country, including discussing relevant current events, sharing best practices, and networking with other food sovereignty professionals.
The cost to attend the full five-day summit for regular registration ranges from $125 to $175 for food producers and Tribal community members. The fee for Meskwaki community members will be waived. Saturday, May 13th features a day-long Intertribal Foods Festival. This Festival will include small group demonstrations and food-tasting stations with interactive activities for all ages. To attend only the Intertribal Foods Festival portion, registration is $25 per adult. Children under 16 may attend free of charge.
In addition to the workshop tracks offered through the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit, the concurrent Youth Summit features an educational section open to high school-aged youth. The Summit each year brings Native youth together for a one-of-a-kind learning experience exploring issues they will face as the next generation of food and agricultural leaders in the Great Lakes and Midwest regions. Youth will focus on engaging with Elders and tradition-bearers to learn cultural skills and practices like outdoor cooking and reconnecting with the land through gathering wild foods.
For more information on the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit, or to register, CLICK HERE.