During the spring of 2020, Dr Rose Stremlau and Dr Courtney Lewis were supported by the Justice, Equality, and Community Initiative at Davidson College and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to organize a series of in-person panels on the Davidson College campus focused on the work of Indigenous “foodpreneurs” in the food sovereignty movement.
When the Covid-19 global pandemic reached the United States, these panels were moved online. After these panels had concluded, Rose and Courtney pursued funding for an additional series of videos.
These videos are aimed at a general audience and feature a spectrum of North American Indigenous chefs. These chefs showcase one dish while discussing the impact that the global pandemic as had on their work, how they are helping their communities during this crisis, and what viewers can do to help Native Nations who have been hit hardest by this virus.
The official website for these events is: https://ctl.davidson.edu/foodpreneurs
Food Sovereignty Panels
The first panel (in-person) featured Blake Jackson (Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma citizen; Policy Officer and a Staff Attorney for the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas) and Zena Wolfe, and Autumn Sunshine Tahquette, and Virginia Wolfe (all Eastern Band of Cherokee citizens) of the The Hungry Wolf Deli & Fresh Market.
The second panel (online) brought three chefs together to discuss running an Indigenous food business: Chef and Dr Lois Ellen Frank of Red Mesa Cuisine (Kiowa Nation descendant), Chef Taelor Barton (Cherokee Nation citizen), and cookbook author Johnnie Sue Myers (Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians citizen) with husband Soney Myers (German-Irish descendant).
The third and final panel (online) focused on the academics who work in varying ways on agricultural food sovereignty: Dr Elizabeth Hoover (Mohawk/Mi’kmaq descendent; Associate Professor of American Studies at Brown University), Dr Clint Carroll (Cherokee Nation citizen; Associate Professor Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado Boulder), and “DeLesslin” “Roo” George-Warren (Catawba citizen; Consultant at Catawba Cultural Center).
Indigenous Chefs Video Demo Series
This series brought together chefs from across North America to discuss pressing issue in food sovereignty and food-related businesses during the global pandemic. To bring awareness to these issues in Indian Country, they demonstrated either live or through video some of their favorite spring dishes while answering viewer and interviewer questions.
The schedule was:
May 18, 2020: Yazzie the Chef (Diné)
May 25: Chef Tawnya Brant (Kanyen’kehâ:ka)
June 1: Chef Vincent Medina (Muwekma Ohlone Tribe) and Chef Louis Terevino (Rumsen Ohlone): Cafe Ohlone
June 8: Chef Elena Terry (Ho-Chunk Nation)
June 15: Chef Crystal Wahpepah (Kickapoo Tribe of Oklahoma)
June 22: Chef Loretta Barrett Oden (Citizen Potawatomi Nation)
June 29: Chef Sean Sherman (Oglala Nation)