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NĀTIFS, North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems, received the 2023 Julia Child Award in Minneapolis on Tuesday. NĀTIFS was founded by Indigenous chef Sean Sherman (Oglala Sioux Tribe) to address the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Native foodways.

Sherman focuses on the revitalization and evolution of Indigenous foods systems throughout North America. Through his activism and advocacy, Sherman is helping to reclaim and celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Indigenous communities around the world.

His goal is to make Indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible through NĀTIFS and its Indigenous Food Lab professional Indigenous kitchen and training center. Working to address the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Native foodways, NĀTIFS imagines a new North American food system that generates wealth and improves health in Native communities through food-related enterprises.

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Sherman and his wife, Dana Thompson, opened Owamni, an Indigenous restaurant along the Mississippi River in downtown Minneapolis in 2021. The restaurant features a decolonized menu of Indigenous foods and recipes including smoked Lake Superior trout, Red Lake walleye, native corn tacos with cedar braised bison, bison tartare, and conifer preserved rabbit with corn flatbread.

Among Owamni’s accolades of recognition include, it made The New York Times’ list of its 50 new restaurants that year.

Chef Sean Sherman of the Oglala Lakota brings thirty years of James Beard award-winning experience with his wife Dana Thompson to Owamni. Side options include cornbread, cedar and maple baked beans, wild rice, and seasonal root vegetables—all without processed flour, sugar, or dairy products. 

Sherman’s Sean’s first book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, received the James Beard Award for Best American Cookbook in 2018, and he was given the 2019 Leadership Award from the James Beard Foundation. 

 

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