Indigenous palates

In the past year, as new initiatives have elevated Indigenous Dining, we’ve noticed a rise of mainstream attention on Indigenous restaurants and cooking techniques. Here are the five latest Indigenous dining experiences that have emerged in restaurants.

  • Wahpepah’s Kitchen, in Oakland, California, is the first Native American restaurant to open in the Bay Area. It will open on October 30. Crystal Wahpepah will be serving blue corn waffles and acorn pancakes on a dragonfly table crafted by Lakota Woodworker Stephan Cheney and placed next to a cornstalk mural painted by Navajo Artist Tony Abeyta.
  • In October, the Native American Studies Department at Humboldt State began construction on its Food Sovereignty Lab. The Californian University is offering courses to promote Indigenous representation, teach Natural Resource Management, and explore traditional Indigenous Food Systems to bring balance to Indigenous food practices.
  • Basket A Gathering was a new cookbook published in October by native people for indigenous people. An independent group wrote the collection of Indigenous chefs, activists, and writers called the I-Collective. It aims to reclaim narratives around native foods, ingredients, and webinars.
  • Oklahoma City’s Thirty Nine Restaurant opened in September. It is named after the 39 First American Nations of Oklahoma. The restaurant, which opened in September in conjunction with the First Americans Museum in Oklahoma City, serves traditional dishes from the 39 First American Nations.
  • Owamni, a decolonized restaurant that opened in Minneapolis last July, was highlighted by us earlier in the year. It was named one of the New York Times’ favorite restaurants and offers dishes made only from native ingredients.
These establishments and organizations are dominated by the pattern of Indigenous Peoples, For Indigenous Peoples. These practices are more than just authentic: They’re a way to fulfill a community and reframe businesses in the interest of tradition and preservation.

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