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Deep Fried Togetherness

Going to the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE) in Toronto, ON, every year means deep fried ice cream waffles for me. I know this is not the healthiest thing to eat but it is so tasty. Guilty pleasures like this shouldn’t be our regular diet but an exclamation point on our life journey.

God so loved the smell of barbeque that God committed to never flooding the earth again! (Genesis 8:20-21) Food that good can make you change your life. I am so glad my son David is a chef. Sometimes he sends me a message that he has some gourmet food ready and I just move my own plate aside, jump in my truck, and head to his place. My taste buds have never been disappointed.

We Indigenous people love to laugh. Indian Residential Schools and colonialism did a real number on us but we have learned to let our laughter be our medicine. Even when we have funerals, in the midst of our tears we love to tell stories of our loved ones and laugh till we cry again.

In order to make it up this tough trail we will need to pack a mountain trail picnic.

Good tasty food is like laughter - it is good for the soul. In any hard life journey you need to sprinkle a little sugar to make the medicine go down. Justice Murray Sinclair said that the journey up the mountain of reconciliation is a hard one. In order to make it up this tough trail we will need to pack a mountain trail picnic. We also need to pack some sweet treats to help us too. The sugar will give us the energy we need and our taste buds will also be happy.

Our Haudenosaunee people made a covenant with the Dutch in 1613 called the Two Row Wampum. In this agreement we said we would respect each other and not interfere with one another. This did not mean we didn’t influence each other. The Dutch January 1st New Years tradition and the serving of oliebollen was adopted by Haudenosaunee people and still carried out in my home community of Six Nations.

Friends get to know each other and eat tasty treats together.

“Nu Yah! Nu Yah!” we yell outside of our Six Nations neighbours’ homes before noon on January 1st. We are then rewarded with Indian donuts, our adaptation of oliebollen. Our Haudenosaunee New Year celebrations are not until late January or early February so our Six Nations “tradition” was adopted from our Dutch neighbours 400 years ago. Friends get to know each other and eat tasty treats together.

We started out as friends, those many centuries ago. Then our good relations were interrupted and largely forgotten. Our Haudenosaunee Silver Covenant Chain wampum belt was meant to remind us of our Two Row relationship. We knew that we needed to polish the tarnished silver of this covenant chain in order to renew our friendship. This is what reconciliation means, “to make friends again.” I am here to renew the Silver Covenant Chain with our EuroCanadian friends. 

I hope you enjoy the Indigenous recipes we are sharing with you and making tasty treats for the journey of reconciliation. Our Hearts Exchanged curriculum tells the difficult story of Indigenous people in Canada. One way to deal with all the emotions you may feel in learning this history is to share them with a safe circle of family and friends. Make sure you have some tasty treats at your table too and let yourself laugh too. Listen to some good music and you might even get up to dance every now and then!

Let's unite over food and the joy of cooking!  When you contribute any amount to help us reach our mid-year $20,000 goal for our Indigenous Ministries, you'll receive five recipes as our thanks. 

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