Event gives students a chance to sample Native foods

kate.annala

The Native American Student Association (NASA) will host its 8th annual First Nations Food Taster on Friday, Nov. 7 from 5- 8 p.m. at the Jacobetti Center.

NASA and the NMU Culinary Arts program are working together to provide a night of food and music to celebrate Native American Heritage Month.

Other events NASA is hosting during Native American Heritage Month are a concert by Joanne Shenandoah, who is a recipient of the Native American Music Association’s Singer of the Year award, a concert by Wade Fernandez and the showing of the film, “Four Sheets to the Wind.”

Samantha Hill, the chair of NASA, said that events like the food taster are important to help teach Native American culture on NMU’s campus.

“I feel that it is important for NASA to sponsor these events because it gives us a connection and promotes diversity on campus. Not many people are aware of the Native American culture and history, and through events held in Native Month, students get the opportunity to learn.”

April Lindala, the Director of the Center for Native American Studies, says profits from the First Nations Food Taster will help fund the annual powwow NASA hosts in March.

The powwow is a two-day event that takes place in the Vandament Arena.

At the powwow NASA hosts an average of 13 drum groups from around the Midwest and Canada. She added that 200 dancers and 10-15 singers perform at the annual powwow.

Lindala stressed how the powwow depends on events such as the First Nations Food Taster to help raise funds.

Lindala says the Food Taster will highlight foods from Native American groups regionally and nationally. Some items on the menu are traditional and contemporary Native American dishes consisting of bison, venison, wild rice, fry bread and desserts.

Lindala said the food taster is an opportunity for NMU students to learn and experience the Native American culture.

“That is what college is about: learning more about those around us . to come together to celebrate both differences and similarities,” Lindala said. “And everyone loves to eat, so why not share a meal?”

Lindala encouraged attendants to bring a “dishbag”, which consists of plates, bowls, silverware and cups from home in order to eliminate waste. Those who bring a dishbag and are at least 18 years old will have a chance to win prizes.

Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Center for Native American Studies or the Multicultural Education and Resource Center. Tickets are $10 for the general public and $4 for NMU students with IDs. Prices are $12 for the general public and $5 for NMU students if tickets are purchased at the door of the First Nations Food Taster.

Lindala said that NASA is looking for volunteers to run the Food Taster.

“All volunteers who work a two-hour shift eat for free. We can always use people Friday evening toward the end of the night for clean up.”

For more information about the First Nations Food Taster or to sign up to volunteer at the event, contact the Center of Native American Studies at 227-1397 or at [email protected]