Indigenous Peoples' Day

This year on Oct. 14, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we will feature foods from the James Beard award-winning cookbook The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, written by Sean Sherman and Beth Dooley, on the hot bars at both the Franklin and Friendship stores. We will also be selling the cookbook for those who want to learn more about indigenous food. Leading up to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, co-op shoppers can round up for “Dream of Wild Health” in September. Seward Community Co-op takes to heart our Ends/mission statement of inclusive, socially responsible practices. We have “Everyone Welcome” above our entries, and we want our foods to reflect the diversity of cultures in our communities. Native foods have for too long been excluded from our legacy as Americans—when was the last time you saw a Native American restaurant?

If you heard Sean Sherman’s presentation at the Annual Meeting last October, you may remember how destruction of Native food ways is inextricably linked to the annihilation (or genocide) of the people here throughout colonization. Sean shared many stories—from George Washington’s directive to General Sullivan to destroy crops, seeds and villages of native peoples, to the slaughter of 99 percent of the bison population on the high plains to “open up” land for European-style agriculture. He also talked about the brutality of the “boarding schools” where native children were sent to learn to forget their own culture (language, religion, food, everything). There are many folks who were sent to these schools who are still living today.

If you were not at the Annual Meeting last year, this may be new information to you; it can be difficult to learn this history and how it informs the legacy of cultural domination alive today. We encourage you to watch Sean’s presentation available on Seward Co-op's Facebook page, purchase and read the cook book, and look for other historically accurate sources.

Sean Sherman’s presentation reminded us that with genocide comes denial and cultural erasure; as a result, many indigenous people grew up with little ancestral knowledge of culture, rituals, and traditions. This painful history, which often is either romanticized or denied, contributes to why we don’t see many restaurants that serve traditional Native cuisine. It’s vital that we, as a community, remember the pain that millions suffered throughout our nation’s history. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a day to remember indigenous ancestors, celebrate the survival and resilience of native people, and dispel the myth that Columbus discovered America.