On Friday afternoon, Dave Shananaquet was in the luncheon line to sample Indigenous Chef Crystal Wahpepah’s smoked elk on a blue corn tostada shell. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Published April 27, 2019
DOWAGIAC, Mich. — There is a movement in Indian Country to provide healthier foods into the daily diets of daily lives of American Indians and Alaska Natives. Some 600 people over the course of four days came to Dowagiac, Michigan, the home of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians. The Pokagon Band hosted the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit with the Intertribal Agriculture Council and the Native American Food Sovereignty Alliance.
The Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit is a regional, traveling summit 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.
Indigenous Chef Crystal Wahpepah (Kickapoo), from Oakland, California, was responsible for Friday’s luncheon where she and her crew fed almost 500 people within 30 minutes. She served up blue corn tostada’s with either smoked elk or white fish, accompanied with black beans, cactus salad and wild rice tea.
Wahpepah, the owner of Wahpepah’s Kitchen, is a popular caterer in the San Francisco Bay area. She serves as the brand ambassador for Advanced Proteins Solutions, a company owned by the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians’ economic development corporation Little River Holdings, LLC, located in Manistee, Michigan.
“I cook from the heart so you can have a taste of my home in your home,” Wahpepah said.
Indigenous Chef Crystal Wahpepah with her smoked elk. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Indigenous chefs Sean Sherman (Oglala Sioux Tribe) and Crystal Wahpepah (Kickapoo). Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Indigenous Chef Crystal Wahpepah with trays of cactus salad. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Several indigenous chefs cooked outside on a nice Michigan spring day. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Dine’ Indigenous Chef Brian Yazzie (left) stirring his soup. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Yazzie’s red chili tepary bean soup simmers over a fire. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Indigenous Chefs Elenna Terry, Brian Yazzie, Charles Catchpole and Josh Nez. Native News Online photo by Arthur Jacobs
Former Ho-Chunk Nation Chairman Jon Greendeer (right) taught workshops on preserving deer hides. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert
Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians co-hosted the Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit. Native News Online photo by Levi Rickert