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Native American Food Fair: A Taste of Turtle Island

Last May, our first-ever Native American Food Fair was on Capitol Hill. The event featured food produced by Native producers from across Indian Country and prepared by Chef Nico Albert (Cherokee Nation). The event was at the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) and hosted over 300 attendees.

About Chef Nico: Nico Albert Williams (Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma) is the Founder and Executive Director of Burning Cedar Sovereign Wellness, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and forthcoming urban Indigenous community space. The mission of Burning Cedar Sovereign Wellness is to address socioeconomic disparities, health crises and cultural disconnection affecting Indigenous communities. They do this through re-establishing ancestral foodways, birthing practices and traditional medicine, educating future generations of Indigenous cooks, supporting Indigenous food producers, teaching sustainable and environmentally restorative practices, and providing resources for Native people to improve their spiritual and physical health through ancestral ways of knowing. Nico spends her time cooking, eating, studying, writing, and speaking about traditional and modern Native cuisine.

About the Menu: Many Indigenous people refer to the Earth as Turtle Island. The name comes from Native oral histories that tell stories of a turtle that holds the world on its back. A Taste of Turtle Island provides a small glimpse of the many foods that are produced by Native people across the United States.

Southeast - Bison + Chicken Liver Terrine with Wild Onions + Prickly Pear BBQ

  • Bison: Butcher House Meats | Osage NationOsage Nation’s Butcher House Meats is a 19,000-square- foot, state-of-the-art facility designed to address food insecurity for the Osage people. 

  • Chicken Liver: One Farm Poultry | Cherokee NationOne Farm Poultry has been raising chickens in northeast Oklahoma for more than 30 years.

Northeast - Manoomin Pudding Parfait with Puffed Ancient Grain + Maple Seed Crumble, Wild Blueberries + Wild Hawthorn Berry Cream

  • Manoomin: Red Lake Nation Foods | Red Lake NationRed Lake Nation Foods is a Native-owned company dedicated to producing unique specialty products which represent its cultural heritage for the benefit of more than 10,000 members of the Red Lake Nation. Wild rice, also called manoomin, is any of four species of grasses that form the genus Zizania, and the grain that can be harvested from them. 

  • Maple Syrup & Sugar: Dynamite Hills | Keweenaw Bay Indian Community and Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior OjibweDynamite Hills harvests sugar maple sap and processes it into pure maple syrup, using traditional, clean production methods. 

  • Blueberries: Passamaquoddy Wild Blueberry Company | Passamaquoddy TribeOwned by the Passamaquoddy Tribe, the Passamaquoddy Wild Blueberry Company grows and harvests wild blueberries on 2,000 acres of land. Unlike conventional blueberries, wild blueberries aren’t planted – they naturally grow in barrens created by glaciers that recorded 10,000 years ago. 

  • Wild Hawthorn Jelly: Red Lake Nation Foods | Red Lake NationRed Lake Nation Foods is a Native-owned company dedicated to producing unique specialty products which represent its cultural heritage for the benefit of more than 10,000 members of the Red Lake Nation. Hawthorn berries are bright red berries, also known as “haws,” that can be enjoyed raw, but their flavor improves when cooked.

Southwest - Black Tepary Bean Cakes with Chile-Marinated Ciolim (Cholla Buds)

  • Tepary Beans: Ramona Farms | Akimel O'Odham (Gila River Pima) CommunityRamona’s American Indian Foods, LLC is a 40-year-old Native-owned business. The tepary bean has been handed down for countless generations amongst Akimel O’Odham (River People, Pima) people and their cousins the Tohono O’Odham (Desert People). The bavi is high in soluble fiber and protein and is a low glycemic index food. 

  • Ciolim: San Xavier Cooperative Association | Tohono O’odham HimdagThe San Xavier Cooperative Association is committed to healthy farming practices and growing traditional crops to support the cultural and environmental values of, as well as support economic development within the community. Ciolim – cholla buds – have sustained the Tohono O’odham for countless generations and are incredibly healthy. 

Northwest - Smoked Salmon + Cedar Salted Potato Bites with Whipped Spring Peas + Dandelion Capers

  • Smoked Salmon: Native Candies |  Yakama Nation and Caddo NationNative Candy is a small, wholly Native-owned business dedicated to the traditional ways, living healthy and sharing that health with the community. Salmon is harvested on the Columbia River by Tribal fisherman using traditional techniques that have sustained the local ecology for thousands of years.  

  • Cedar Smoked Salt: Sakari Farms | InupiaqCedar Smoked Salt is well suited for fish and meat because of the cedar which is a traditional seasoning in Native American culture. Sakari Farms grows Native American First Foods, offers on-farm technical assistance through their on-farm classes, and implements research based tribal seed production, contract and wholesale growing.


  • Olive Oil: Séka Hills | Yocha Dehe Wintun NationSéka Hills is a line of premium Tribal products from the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation. In the Tribe’s Patwin language, ‘Séka’ means ‘blue,’ and the name of the products honors the blue hills that overlook the Tribe’s homeland in Northern California’s Capay Valley. With more than 25,000 acres in production, the Tribe owns one of the most diverse farming operations in Yolo County and is one of a few tribes with expanding agriculture operations in California.



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