What do you get when you start with a heart full of Indigenous knowledge, pages of Anishinaabe language graphics, big heaping handfuls of generational knowledge, and armloads of food to nurture our relatives? A pinch of humor? An Anishinaabe cookbook, right?
Derek Nicholas’s Eating with the Seasons is more than a cookbook, it’s a cultural resource. Derek is a student at the University of Minnesota Morris and was a member of the Oyate Leadership 2019 Cohort. He’s a member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa.
“My grant was to create a project to strengthen communities,” Derek writes. Through his work Derek’s extends the movement for language revitalization to Indigenous food sovereignty with how we eat and take care of our relatives and ourselves, “I created a seasonally cookbook with the addition of Anishinaabeg language and cultural lessons. This book gives the tools to eat healthy while teaching language and traditions.”
And, all that delicious, hard work is also shifting the narrative of Native communities from peoples living in a bygone past to resilient communities living in the here and now. Yes, this is ancestor work created for the modern foodie and budding chef in all of us. Ever thought about how you might cook suckerfish – Namebin – for the first time ever? Ever wanted to try your hand at venison chili? Brew maple cinnamon ice – Niibish? How about curry squash soup? You’ll find that not only is Derek telling our story but he’s telling it in a way that tells a story of Native peoples in our collective present – through language and food – in abundance. Chi-mii gwech Nicholas! Wiisinidaa! Let’s Eat!