VSAR 440 – Response to “What Happens When Native People Lose Their Traditional Foods?” by Deborah Small on the KCET website & Video: Decolonizing the Diet, on the KCET website: with Chia Cafe Collective”

The article “What Happens When Native People Lose Their Traditional Foods?” was a very insightful reading because I never really thought about native foods and how they are apart of our culture and history. The reading goes on to talk about how the native people have continued to keep the native farming/ agriculture ways/ techniques alive by showing others about plants and what they give us and keep on giving us, what these plants have done for our ancestors. How we rely on these plants more than we realize. The reading also talks about how these plants want us to care for them as much as they have cared for us and our people/ society. This got me thinking about our lecture guests from this monday (GUESTS: Chia Cafe Collective members: Craig Torres, Tongva elder & Abe Sanchez, Purepecha elder: they will demo Native foods for health and well-being.) How Mr. Sanchez gave such a moving speech about life and native foods and what they SHOULD mean to us.  Mr. Sanchez also asked us if we ever really thought about when we go to a grocery store and just grab what fruits, veggies, or plants we need and not realize that we are so modernized, we don’t stop to think is this how our ancestors got their food? and Mr. Sanchez said No, they grew their food, they went out onto their fields and had to work with nature, and care for their own food, so every day when they would go out they would pick the food they farmed, they learned to appreciate and respect mother nature. Personally I do think of where my food comes from and I would honestly love to learn how to farm like the natives do, as my ancestors did. so that I may grow food and be more close to mother nature and really get a sense of history and understanding of how hard but fulfilling it is to get in touch with the ideals natives have for their food and culture. We also got to make smoothies with different plants/herbs/fruits/veggies. Such as the Chia seeds, pumpkin seeds, Limes, Pineapple, Apples, etc. While watching the Video “Decolonizing the Diet”, we hear a native woman singing a song in a native language. I find out later that the song is “a acorn processing song” the native lady goes on to say that it is a “Paiute song from the east side, the Paiutes on the east side loved acorn” She goes on to talk about the history between the Paiutes and how they loved acorns but on their side they did not have acorns so therefore the Paiutes had to trade in order to have acorn. The Paiutes ran the Chukchansis off the mountain in order to have land that grew the black oak acorn. I really love how the lady in the video talks about acorn “Acorn is a pure, living food. You’re putting something that scared into your body, man you’re putting life into your body.” I mean that is just so beautiful to say about something no one really appreciates enough or understands what it really gives you. Overall the video was so eye opening about plants and the history of acorn and some native tribes as well. Personally I LOVE learning about different cultures and tribes and just history that we never really got to hear or actually learn about in middle school 2006-2008 or high school 2009-2012. It is really fascinating. I feel like this weeks class was by FAR the best experience I have had so far in college, I really am interested in native foods and how to harvest them naturally.


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