Friday, May 13, 2011

First Came the "Fire Water", Next the Potato Chips

If you’re interested in learning more about Native American history and culture, a good place to start is the Mitchell Museum of The American Indian in Evanston, Illinois.
 The Mitchell Museum was started with the collection of Native American culture and artifacts of John and Betty Seabury Mitchell. The collection, has been in its present location in 1997. Although the museum is small, it has an interesting collection of Native American artifacts, clothes, handicrafts, and other memorabilia from many of the over 500 tribes throughout the United States.

                                                             Corn Mother by Doug Hyde

The temporary exhibit is a lesson geared to children about the prevention and treatment of diabetes. Unfortunately, this disease has ravaged the Native American community. Their rate of diabetes is twice the rate of white Americans. Currently 16.5% of Native Americans ages 20 and older have type 2 diabetes and many of the children have it as well.

A creative set of children’s books Through the Eyes of the Eagle by George Perez is on display both in pictures and videos. In this series, Mr. Eagle tells the children how to prevent diabetes by returning to the ways of their ancestors – eating healthy, spending time outdoors, and being physically active. While the original Native American diet was based on fruits, vegetables, grains, with the occasional fish or animal that was caught, many Native American children today fill up on potato chips and other junk foods. They exercise their thumbs playing video games and watching TV rather then their bodies playing lacrosse and other active games. Mr. Eagle explains to the children what they need to do to stay strong and healthy. The illustrations are beautiful. Here is one of them.

After seeing that wonderful exhibit, I visited the museum library where I found several Native American cookbooks. Although many of the ingredients they used were very healthy, many of them would be difficult to obtain for most of us. I did, however, find a couple of recipes that seemed doable. I admit I haven’t tried them yet, but I will soon. If any of you try them, let me know how they came out.

                                                Sweet Potato Bread

Boiled sweet potatoes mashed up
Corn flour
Baking soda
Salt (optional)

Mix the ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Pour into bread pan. Bake in a hot oven (425 Fahrenheit). The recipe didn’t provide amounts or baking times.

                                                Butternut Squash

1 butternut squash
1 tsp honey
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 pat margarine
cinnamon and nutmeg to taste

Cut the squash in half. Hollow out seeds and waste. Put the other ingredients on it and bake in 350 Fahrenheit oven for 40 minutes.


1 comment:

Healthy Recipes said...

Nice article :) Highly appreciated