Pottawatomi ready for Great Lakes Food Summit and Indigenous Chefs

(Featured Picture is of a Maple Sugar making trough)

Hopkins, Michigan (ICC)

The Gun Lake Pottawatomi Tribe announced that it is in final preparation to host the 2017 Great Lakes Intertribal Food Summit in conjunction with the Intertribal Agriculture Council (IAC). This is the second year the tribe will host this event, which also features a concurrent youth summit.

This event will bring several hundred harvesters, farmers, food product producers and Indigenous chefs together for a block of presentations and workshops about growing, harvesting and cooking a variety of natural and healthy foods. The event will be held April 19-23 at the Tribe’s Jijak Camp in Hopkins, Michigan and will embrace the celebration of Earth Day on Saturday, April 22.

The Summit highlights traditional and contemporary Native American foods and culinary arts. Meals featuring traditional and Native-produced ingredients, some harvested immediately from the local woods and prepared by leading Native American chefs from North America, will be prepared and served. The chefs will also hold small hands-on, indoor and outdoor workshops about traditional cooking knowledge and food preparation while mentoring youth. A Native foods market showcasing producers, products and indigenous arts and crafts will be featured throughout the event.

A spring Food Summit in Madison, Wisconsin featured several pop-meals by Indigenous Chefs including Brian Yazzie and Tashia Hart of the Sioux Chef Team out of Minneapolis, Ben Jacobs of Tocabe from Denver, Kristina Stanley of Brown Rice and Honey from Madison, M. Karlos Baca, Taste of Native Cuisine from Ignacio and Dan Cornelius of the Inter-Tribal Agriculture Council.

This particular dish, one that is likely to be repeated at the Great Lakes Summit if all the ingredients can be obtained, was part of a 4-course dinner that included Cedar Braised Bison over Blue Corn Plenta with Roasted vegetables (carrots, mushrooms, onions, squash) and Sage Pesto.                                                                  Photo by Paul DeMain

The event opens on April 19 and follows with daily presentations featuring topics such as sustainability, food security, production practices, traditional harvest and meal preparation. There will be several opportunities to work directly with top native chefs and connect with native harvesters and producers and forage in the local woods.

Workshops will feature seed banks and seed saving, sapping and sugaring of several variety of trees with in-depth workshops about current and historic economies of maple sugaring, history of Indigenous raised garden beds, mushroom identification and production, treaty resource inventories and natural resource management, soil conservation, small scale farming, foraging, wild rice harvesting and processing, animal butchering techniques and much more.

The Summit, with a call to contribute your selection of traditional recipes to share with others, is open to all. There are many opportunities to learn, explore and collaborate on issues of food sovereignty in Indian Country, including the impact of reducing fossil fuel transportation consumption through personal and community gardening. Past summits, have focused on tribal food production, marketing and access.  

In addition to regular workshop tracks the summit will feature a “Native Youth in Food and Agriculture” educational section. The Great Lakes Regional Summit brings Native youth together for a one-of-a-kind learning experience focusing on issues they will face as the next generation of food and agricultural leaders in the Great Lakes Region. Youth will focus on engaging with Elders and tradition-bearers to learn cultural skills and practices; practices like reconnecting with the land through gathering wild foods and outdoor cooking activities.

This program is open to both enrolled tribal youth and descendants. For questions or more information about the Youth portion of the Summit, contact Kelsey Ducheneaux at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (605) 850-4079.

For more information and to register visit https://iacgreatlakes.com/summit

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