Cooking videos celebrate tribal "food sovereignty" | WMUK

Cooking videos celebrate tribal "food sovereignty"

Nov 22, 2021

Credit Mike / Pexels.com

This November, for Native American Heritage month, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi is emphasizing food sovereignty. 


The tribe is sharing videos on Facebook explaining how to make a variety of traditional foods, as part of its Harvest Health program. WMUK’s Dan Robinson recently talked with two of the program’s leaders.  

The smell of turkey simmering fills the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi Community Center, as Yebishawn Old Shield, a Lifeways Cultural Consultant for the tribe, chops carrots for the traditional dish she’s making.

“Here is the boiled wild rice, and then some vegetables. Got squash, green beans and corn,” she explains.

This November, for Native American Heritage month, the NHBP is emphasizing food sovereignty. The tribe is sharing videos on Facebook explaining how to make a variety of traditional foods as part of its Harvest Health program.

Old Shield is one of the cooks featured in the videos NHBP has created for the program, which has gone virtual because of the pandemic. The videos share how to prepare traditional foods like pumpkin, salmon, and Indian Corn, according to Nickole Keith, NHBP’s Food Sovereignty Coordinator.

“Food Sovereignty, what it means to NHBP, is having access to healthy food, having foods that are culturally appropriate, readopting an indigenous-based diet, finding the foods that occupied the Great Lakes region prior to colonization,” she said.

For Keith, food sovereignty represents not only physical health but the resilience of the tribe’s language and culture.

“There’s so many things about our language, that if we understand our language and we understand those words, we can basically find out what we ate and how we made it.”

“I hope this encourages others to want to look into getting more sustainable with our diet,” Old Shield says as she cooks.

Disclosure: the reporter’s wife works for the Nottawaseppi Huron Band’s health department.