NMU collaborates with Marquette Food Co-op for “Week of Indigenous Eating”

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN)- NMU’s Center for Native American Studies (CNAS), Native American Student Association (NASA), and Marquette Food Co-op are working together to encourage people to try the Great Lakes Indigenous diet.

Marquette Food Co-op will be offering a self-guided food scavenger hunt until Nov. 8 in honor of “Week of Indigenous Eating”, which is apart of Native American Heritage Month.

Those who complete the scavenger hunt will be entered into a drawing for one of three prizes. Prizes include the ‘Decolonizing Diet Project (DDP) Cookbook ’, two tickets to the First Nations Food Taster, or a $5 gift certificate to the MFC.

Indigenous foods will be labeled with digital QR codes throughout the store. Shoppers can scan local foods with their phones to link to further information about how it is used in the Decolonizing Diet Project cookbook and the pronunciation of the Anishinaabe word.

Outreach Director of the Marquette Food Co-op, Sarah Monte, said the co-op has worked with CNAS and NASA for many years and that they are excited to bring indigenous eating a step further with this year’s scavenger hunt.

“Not only are you thinking about what kinds of foods would have been available in this bioregion, but also what language were people speaking who were eating these foods. It’s a way to bring in that cultural awareness to our food and learn more about the people who originally lived here.”

The scavenger hunt was inspired by the Decolonizing Diet Project headed by Dr. Martin Reinhardt, a professor of Native American Studies at NMU.

25 people participated in the study who committed to eating the Great Lakes region’s indigenous foods ranging from 25 to 100 percent of their diet for one year in 2012-2013.

According to Reinhardt, many participants lost weight, vitamin levels were peaked, and decretion in cholesterol levels and blood pressure.

Reinhardt said this week of indigenous eating and their collaboration with the co-op is a way to support indigenous foods and a fun way to get the community involved.

“People are probably used to the idea that venison is indigenous to this area and whitefish. But there’s a lot of things that people aren’t familiar with. The sunchokes are an example. They don’t usually include them as apart of their diet. They’re kind of like an indigenous potato. Also, duck eggs, not a lot of people use duck eggs. They’re a little larger and creamier. They’re great for baking, making bread and cookies and such.”

For more information on NMU’s celebrations and activities during Native American Heritage Month, you can click here.

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