Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit, hosted on the Meskwaki Settlement, May 9-13 2018


I have fallen woefully behind on keeping you all up to date on all of the amazing food and garden related happenings in Indian Country! I’m going to work now on trying to get caught up, and at least getting all of the photos out there!

Kitchen crew at the 2018 Great Lakes Food Summit, photo by Elizabeth Hoover

In preparation for this year’s Great Lakes Food Summit, happening April 24-28 in the Pokagen Band Potawatomi community in Michigan, I wanted to share with you last year’s Summit, hosted in the Red Earth Gardens at the Meskwaki Settlement. The event was an amazing assortment of hands-on food-related activities that included everything from a buffalo butchering workshop, to foraging walks, pottery making workshops, seed saving discussions, lots of good food, and much more!

Red Earth Gardens site, prepared for the conference. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover

Below I’ve featured photos of the buffalo butchering (informative, but you will see some blood and guts. I just want to note that the buffalo was killed and handled in a respectful way, and went on to feed hundreds of participants over the four days of the conference), as well as photos explaining the other workshops and meals that were included as part of the conference.

The conference began with a buffalo butchering workshop, with a young female buffalo from Dreesman Buffalo Ranch. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
After the buffalo was shot, and then prayed over by participants, she was brought back to the conference site at the Meskwaki settlement. Arlo Iron Cloud, in the blue shirt, led the workshop with his wife Lisa Iron Cloud. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Then the process of skinning began under the instruction of Lisa Iron Cloud (black t-shirt). Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Vern Defoe skinning the buffalo. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Arlo and Lisa skinning. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Arlo and Lisa’s son helping with the buffalo skinning. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Leona removing the stomach. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Nicole, Mary and Leona cleaning the caul, the layer of fat that was around the stomach, that was then used in cooking. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Kyle Jim and Sean Sherman helping Lisa Iron Cloud to cut the haunch away from the rest of the buffalo body. Photo by Elizabeth hoover
Kyle carrying the haunch away to be cleaned. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Brad Skennadore (standing in black shirt) holding the carcass and helping to remove the back strap. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Alan, Brad and Paul cutting apart the ribs. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Arlo and his son cleaning intestine, that then went into the kitchen to make sausage. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Washing off the buffalo hide. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Nicole Yanes scraping the buffalo hide. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
scraping the buffalo hide. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Buffalo tongue, simmering in ramps and chilis. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Brian Yazzie stuffing spiced ground buffalo meat to make sausages. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Kyle Jim stuffing buffalo sausage. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Dave Shananaquet stirs the pot. Potawatomi elder George Martin (in the black jacket) adds dried corn and wood ash in a 1:1 ratio, and boils until the “eyes” of the corn kernel come off. Photo by Elizabeth HooverPhoto by Elizabeth Hoover
Joe VanAlstyne pours the hominy and ash mixture onto a screen. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
George rinsing the hominy. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Rinsing the corn– Blue Thurman holding the hose. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover

squirrel soup. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Elena Terry stirring a milkweed blossom stew with amaranth flour dumplings. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Kevin Finney placing hot embers inside a birch log he’s hollowing out to become a bootagen. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Paul DeMain fanning the flames inside the bootagen in process. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Bootagen getting put to work, cracking hickory nuts that will be added to corn mush. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Jamie Betters from the Wisconsin Oneida cannery, leading a workshop on toasting corn over the fire. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
pounding corn after it has been toasted, to make corn mush. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
workshop on making birch bark containers for holding seeds (and whatnot). Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Rowen and Clayton making a planting stick. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Caleb teaching about traps. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Constructing a longhouse. (Also, Donetta has the best laugh). Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Even uncovered, the longhouse made a good meeting spot. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Tasha Smoke Santiago leading a pottery workshop. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Tasha preparing a fire for some of the pots. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Mohawk potter Tasha Smoke Santiago makes beautiful as well as functional pottery that can be used for cooking over fires. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
pottery by Tasha Smoke Santiago. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover

In addition to all of the cooking going on in the kitchens, outside Daisy Kosta, a Cree elder, led a workshop in skinning and cooking some beavers that had been trapped locally. The beavers were stuffed with apple chunks and slow roasted over the fire.

Diasy (in the hat and striped apron) demonstrates how to skin the beaver. For anyone with a 12 year old boy sense of humor who is chuckling right now, her jokes can beat yours any day. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Cleaning off the freshly skinned beaver, getting ready to stuff it with fruit and sew it back up. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Caleb hanging up the beaver. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Adding the last few stitches. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
beaver feet and tail roasted over the fire. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Sean and Brian preparing one of the beavers to be cooked in the kitchen. Brian rubbed it down with spices, grilled it, then stuffed it and baked it. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Kyle and Brian stuffing ramps inside the grilled beaver before it’s then baked in the oven. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Roasted beavers, ready to be carved up for dinner! Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Feast of traditional foods! bottom left, acorn bread that Caleb cooked in a cast iron pot with coals; corn mush with strawberries; goose, squirrel and milkweed soup; and roasted beavers. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Linda Black Elk leading a foraging walk. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover
Seed Saving Workshop led by Rowen White and Clayton Brascoupe, who also led a series of discussions around community seed saving and seed rematriation. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover

There was also a constant flurry of activity in the kitchen to make sure everyone got fed three meals a day! Below we have Maizie with blue corn mush; Claudia with wild rice and cashew cheese stuffed peppers; Reilley with fried smelt, Sam with venison salami, pickled ramps and smoked steelhead; Tawnya with strawberry and orange drink and an assortment of berry and sweetgrass infused sorbets; Charles with blue corn dumplings and bison stew; Candy with a ‘beta carotene whip’ of parsnips and carrots; Felicia with dried apples with roasted red pepper and walnut topping; and Elena with her ‘sas-squash’ dish– squash custard with a maple marinated apple chip, candied pecans and wild cranberries.

buffalo meat, wild rice, smoked fish, fry bread, berry sauce, and a squash and micro greens salad. A little taste of Ben Jacob’s Tocabe restaurant at the food summit. Photo by Elizabeth Hoover (while someone tries to rob me of my lunch)
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2 comments

  1. Big smiles! I love it.

    Johnny

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