Monday, Oct. 12 is Indigenous Peoples Day. The holiday marks another important opportunity to honor and reflect on the lives, histories and diverse cultures of Indigenous people throughout North America. We continue to be grateful at Seward Co-op for the teachings Sean Sherman, of the Sioux Chef, was willing to share at the 2018 Annual Owner Meeting. Join the co-op in celebrating the survival and resilience of Indigenous people by learning more about Indigenous foods.
Food is often an important part of one’s identity. What we eat, who we eat with, and when we eat it can tell a lot about a person’s values, traditions and culture. “[I]ndigenous communities all over the world have a blueprint of how to live sustainably using just plants and animals right around you, no petroleum or anything,” Sherman stated in an interview on culturalsurvival.com. Colonization has stripped away many of these Indigenous foodways. Dana Thompson, Sioux Chef co-owner, said in an interview with Indian Country Today, “Food is medicine, and we’ve got tribes right now that three generations out might not even remember what their grandparents ate.”
The Sioux Chef works to make indigenous foods more accessible. While Sean is sometimes misidentified as The Sioux Chef, the name actually refers to the entire team. The Sioux Chef is a group of Anishinaabe, Mdewakanton Dakota, Navajo, Northern Cheyenne, Oglala Lakota and Wahpeton-Sisseton Dakota. The team includes chefs, ethnobotanists, food preservationists, adventurers, foragers, caterers, event planners, artists, musicians, food truckers and food lovers. In October 2017, Sean and his team performed the first decolonized dinner at the James Beard House in Manhattan. Sean’s first book, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, earned the James Beard medal for Best American Cookbook for 2018.