The Cultural Conservancy - “Traditional Foodways of Native America – Oral Histories of Native Food Revitalization” Audio Recording Project

Based on extensive oral history interviews with indigenous food practitioners, this project highlights the critically important work being done by Native leaders today. We have conducted over 30 oral history interviews with Native American elders, teachers, farmers, hunters, wild food foragers, fishermen, cooks and chefs, activists, and advocates. This audio journey features contemporary Native American community leaders and traditional food gatherers sharing diverse stories of native foodways, their cultural knowledge and practices of indigenous nutrition and health.

In 2008, TCC compiled a CD collection of excerpts from interviews with eleven Native American food practitioners. Each speaker represents a unique Native nation, a different tribal territory and history, and distinct foodways.

TCC recognizes and honors the knowledge and stories of these leaders as their intellectual and cultural property. Approval to record and present these interviews was duly received. All participants signed consent and release forms to have their stories recorded and shared with you, the public, for educational purposes.

As you will hear in these profound testimonies of the changes in Native American diets and nutrition due to colonialism, many traditional foods are endangered and on the verge of extinction. Others are more abundant but due to tremendous land loss, are inaccessible to Indian communities. And yet other foods may be available but the traditional knowledge of how to utilize and prepare them has been severely diminished.

Even with the losses of native plants, animals, land, water, and traditional food knowledge, Native peoples are actively maintaining and revitalizing food sovereignties on reservations, on public land, in rural parks, and urban gardens.

Through eleven diverse voices, you will hear the pride of heritage, the sadness of loss, the solace of memory, the struggle to protect and renew, and the fierce spirit of justice and continuance of today’s indigenous peoples.

Native Food Profiles:

Elena Arguello (Apache and Chicana)—Cook, Farmer, Rancher, Educator
Foodshed: Chile Pepper, New Mexico

Jeannette Armstrong and Marlowe Sam (Okanagan/Wenatchee), Author, Artist, Activist, Educator
Foodshed: Moose, British Columbia, Canada

Pauline Esteves (Timbisha Shoshone)—Tribal Elder, Cultural Advisor, Former Chairwoman, Food Gatherer
Foodshed: Pinyon Nut, California

Elaine Grinnell (Jamestown Klallam and Lummi) - Fisherwoman
Foodshed: Salmon, Washington

Nova Kim and Les Hook (Osage and European-American)— Wild Food Foragers/Gatherers
Foodshed: Maple Syrup, Vermont

Jacquelyn Ross – (Jenner Pomo and Coast Miwok)—Traditional fisherwoman, food gatherer, and basketry student
Foodshed: Abalone/Acorn, California

Winona LaDuke – (Anishinaabekwe/Ojibwe)—Program Director of Honor the Earth, author, economist, environmentalist and Native American activist
Foodshed: Wild Rice, Minnesota

Janie V. Luster (United Houma Nation of Louisiana)— Fisherwoman, Traditional Cook, Cultural Bearer
Foodshed: Gumbo, Louisiana

Loretta Barret Oden (Citizen Potawatomi Nation)—Chef, Food Educator, and Film Director
Foodshed: Corn Bread, Oklahoma

David Vanderhoop (Wampanoag Aquinnah)—Traditional Gatherer, Director, Shellfish Hatchery
Foodshed: Clam Bake, Massachusetts

Woableza (Robert LaBatte) (Lakota/Dakota) - Storyteller, Teacher, Traditionalist
Foodshed: Bison Nation, South Dakota