San Francisco Chronicle: American Indians strive to restore nearly lost tribal food traditions

By Tara Duggan
San Francisco Chronicle

The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen (Sean Sherman)Thanksgiving is the one time of year American Indians are recognized by the wider American society, albeit usually in caricature. To present modern ideas of indigenous food that also recognize precolonial traditions, native chefs from across the continent are flying to New York City over Thanksgiving weekend to participate in a series of pop-up dinners. Oglala Lakota chef Sean Sherman of Minneapolis is probably the most visible symbol of the current native foods resurgence, with a new cookbook, “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen.”

Despite a growing awareness, Northern California tribal members struggle for the right to gather foods like acorns, mussels and surf fish that have sustained their tribes for thousands of years. Generations have been cut off from ancestral hunting and gathering grounds, and those grounds have compacted as wild salmon and other vital foods dwindle.

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