NASA brings indigenous foods to Northern Lights Dining


Dallas Wiertella/NW

HERITAGE — Shelby Boggs, Sophia Panek and Riley Diehlman (left to right) greet students as they enter the dining hall for the week of Indigenous Eats at Northern Lights Dining. The Native American Student Association is partnering with the dining hall to raise awareness about Indigenous foods and culture for Native American Heritage Month.

Andie Balenger

The Native American Student Association (NASA) is hosting a decolonized food takeover at Northern Lights Dining (NLD) this week. Both the Global and Parsnip stations in the dining hall will be featuring meals from the Decolonizing Diet Project Cookbook, which was created by Martin Reinhardt, a professor of Native American Studies at NMU.

NASA is collaborating with NMU Dining Services for this week of indigenous eats. The dining hall takeover is an effort by both organizations to not only showcase the produce that is native to Anishinaabe land, on which NMU sits, but also to educate students on the people and culture that first existed in the area.

Sophia Panek, president of NASA, sees the decolonized food takeover as a chance to bring awareness to indigenous peoples and Anishinaabe culture on campus.

“I hope [students] gain a sense of education that they are more visitors on this land, depending on where they come from,” Panek said. “I am hoping they realize that we share this space just as much as others do and it is important to showcase our food because we have some pretty yummy stuff.”

The meals on this week’s menu consist of items like a wild rice bowl, which contains squash and maple syrup, along with falafel with pumpkin butter. Accompanying the meals will be informational pieces describing where the food comes from, how it is harvested and why the food is important. NASA will have an informational table at the entrance of NLD as well.

The decolonized food takeover is a preview of NASA’s annual First Nations Food Taster event, which will take place on Nov. 28 at the Northern Center. At the food taster, the offerings of decolonized foods will be much more expansive and served buffet-style to those in attendance. NASA artwork will also be showcased and auctioned off at the event to help offset costs for the organization’s annual powwow.