Removal & Relocation with Becky Webster

Episode 4 February 14, 2022 00:41:46
Removal & Relocation with Becky Webster
Spirit Plate
Removal & Relocation with Becky Webster

Show Notes

Following removal and relocation of the mid-1800s, Native communities found ways to adapt and preserve their foodways in the face of disruption. Each community’s journey is unique. This episode focused on the story of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin. With our guest Becky Webster—Oneida attorney, farmer, and seed keeper—we'll talk about the way they are revitalizing their food traditions through seed saving, cooperative growing, and participating in local barter markets.

Topics covered in this episode:

Spirit Plate is part of the Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about this episode of Spirit Plate at, on IG and Twitter at @whetstoneradio, and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio.

Guest: Becky Webster (@ukwakhwa)

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hey everyone. I'm Jesse Sparks host of the new podcast. The one recipe from the team behind the splinted table. This pod is all about that one recipe that you lean on. The one you share with friends, the one you make, when you need a little love. And the one, you know, will work every single time. Every week. I talk with chefs and gifted cooks from all over the world about their one and the story behind it. We're here to help you build your kitchen library. One dish at a time, follow the one recipe, wherever you get your podcast. Speaker 1 00:00:29 Have you ever wondered why rotisserie chicken is so cheap or whether eating a plant based burger can really help fight climate change? Or how about what labels to look for? To know which food is the healthiest or the best for the environment. If those questions intrigue, you try the new podcast. What you're eating from food Speaker 1 00:00:52 They connect the story behind your food, to what you eat every day. What you're eating helps you understand how food gets to your plate to see the full impact of the food system on animals, planet, and people from conversations with farmers and chefs, to discussions with policy experts on the barriers to sustainability food prints, new podcast covers everything from the why to the how join host Jerusha clipper director of food, every other week for new episodes and more answers to the question you have about what you're eating, listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcast or at food you're eating. Speaker 3 00:01:39 My name is Shiloh Maples I'm turtle clan. I'm a Nishina, I'm a citizen of the little river band of Ottawa. I also belong to the Ojibwe people of Swan Creek and black river. I am speaking to you from my Homeland here in the great lakes. Welcome to spirit plate Speaker 3 00:02:04 In this space. We'll talk about indigenous food ways as means of resistance, resilience, and revitalization within this growing indigenous food movement, there is an incredible story of reclamation and intertribal solidarity powerful yet untold examples of native peoples resisting and thriving. The stories of our food ways are one of the greatest testaments of indigenous brilliance and our beauty of spirit. But before we can talk about indigenous people's food traditions and contemporary efforts, revitalize their food systems, we have to understand the history of disruption that makes us work necessary today. I've invited Becky Webster Oneida seed, keep farmer and attorney to talk about the United people's relocation experience and how she's helping to revitalize her community's ancestral foods. In this episode, we'll take a closer look at some of the events from the removal era, which took place between the 1830s and 1880s and how indigenous communities have endured and adapted after displacement from their ancestral Homeland. So before we start the interview, could you please introduce yourself any way that you would like, so you could do it in the language. You could describe any particular professional or community role, any way you would like Speaker 4 00:03:21 Sure. Webster. So in English, what I just said is greetings everybody. My name is gang gay, which means snow scattered here and there. My English name is Becky Webster. I'm Wolf clan I'm Onida. And I grew up near duck Creek that runs through the Onida reservation in Wisconsin. Speaker 3 00:03:52 Thank you for joining me today, Becky, Speaker 4 00:03:54 Thanks for having me Speaker 3 00:03:56 For those who may not be as familiar with the United nation. Could you provide a little history or background for us? Speaker 4 00:04:03 Sure. So the United people, we are originally from what's now, New York state, and we came over to Wisconsin or what would later become Wisconsin in the early 18 hundreds? What Speaker 3 00:04:15 Were some of the factors that led to that relocation? Speaker 4 00:04:21 So there were a lot of factors that led to our removal here to Wisconsin. This was right on the tail end of the revolutionary war. There was a lot of disputes within the Confederacy. So the Onida people are part of the hood Nasho Confederacy, which consists of the Mohawk Onida Onaga Kaga Seneca. And the Tuscarora later, uh, joined the Confederacy. There was a lot of disputes going on within the Confederacy around the time of the revolutionary war as to who side should the Confederacy take. Originally, we wanted to remain neutral and we tried to remain neutral, but we were unable to do so Neo United and the Tuscarora sided with the colonists and everyone else sided with the British. So that led to some, a really dark time in our history Speaker 3 00:05:13 In the early 18 hundreds land, hungry settlers were moving from the east coast further into the interior of the continent. However, the indigenous tribes that resided along the Eastern seaboard remained a huge obstacle to westward expansion. In 1830, president Andrew Jackson signed the Indian removal act into law. This authorized the us president to grant federal lands west of the Mississippi to the tribes that agreed to give up their lands. Some tribes such as a seminal resisted relocation for years, engaging in a series of armed conflicts before retreating into the Everglades. Unfortunately, after facing continued threats or literal violence, many tribes were unsuccessful in their resistance. Many are familiar with the trail of tears involving the Cherokee people. However, many other indigenous nations also experienced their own force, relocation and displacement. During this era, the Chickasaw caw Creek, Wanda kakapo pot of water of oo Potawatomi, Shawnee PPE, and many others were relocated to what was then called Indian territory, or what is now known as Oklahoma along the way. These people experienced disease, starvation, and exposure to the elements. Thousands perished on the journey by the mid 18 hundreds, tens of thousands of native people had been removed from their homelands along the Eastern seaboard, Speaker 4 00:06:45 The United people. We tried to bring the Confederacy together along with all of the other folks in the Confederacy, but we were unable to do so. So the Ananda has covered the council fire. During that time, after the revolutionary war was over, we relet the council fire and resumed being a Confederacy. So even though that we were rejoined at that time or rekindled that Confederacy fire, we still suffered a lot of losses during that time. So countless families perished either due to the direct warfare or through the destruction of our food ways. We lost our homes. We froze in the following winter, we were scattered and landless due to a series of illegal treaties with the state of New York. We were suffering from alcoholism. So it was a really dark time for our Confederacy. So we have scan Dele or handsome lake rejoined. The Confederacy revived our ceremonies. That wasn't enough though, because we were still landless. We were still facing the effects of alcoholism. There was still some divides within the Confederacy. It just wasn't the way that it was before. And there were more and more settlers coming into our territory. Speaker 3 00:08:12 In 1851, the Indian appropriations act led to Western tribes being moved on reservations, which they were prohibited from leaving, unless granted permission from a government agent confined to reservation boundaries, native peoples found themselves restricted in their ability to hunt fish and gather when people were removed and displaced from their Homeland. It wasn't just a physical displacement as their relationship to land. And their more than human relatives were severed. This was a spiritual displacement as well, many indigenous people lost access to the foods and medicines that had sustained previous generations. The us government often made promises of financial assistance and material goods to establish their new lives. For some tribes, the us government sent food rations, which introduced wheat flour, sugar, salt, and sometimes when available coffee, these rations were insufficient, inconsistent, and sometimes arrived moldy a regular diet of these ration foods, lack basic nutrients, which led to widespread malnutrition and starvation. In addition to the impacts of an inadequate diet, forced living in close quarters resulted in the spread of disease together. These two pieces of legislation, the removal act and the Indian appropriation act sent the precedents for today's reservation system. The policies and events of this era are still felt today. As many tribal nations that were relocated, still reside in these new places. Although many communities experienced similar pressures and challenges during these forest removals, each nation has its own unique story and journey. Speaker 4 00:09:59 We ended up following a Christian missionary to what would later become Wisconsin, the original plan. And I didn't know this until relatively recently was that the whole Confederacy was supposed to come with us. We were all supposed to move westward to Wisconsin based on our agreements with the Menominee and the whole chunk to share this territory with them. It didn't happen. The Onida and the Stockbridge were the only people and the Brotherton were the only ones to come from New York over to Wisconsin during that time. Speaker 3 00:10:33 And from my understanding, not all of the United nation made that decision, right? Not everyone relocated. Speaker 4 00:10:40 Yeah. So there was a lot of back and forth. So there were three main waves of people that came to Wisconsin. Some people stopped off in Canada and stayed there at the thas. Some people came to Wisconsin and then turned right around and went back, either stopping at the thas or going all the way back to Oneida. And even in those successive years after settling here, there was a lot of traveling back and forth like we had done for millennia throughout north America and even south America. So there was a lot of movement of the people throughout those territories. But again, like the issues that we were having during the revolutionary war, there are even still issues today about the different Oneida communities and their perspectives about the United people here in Wisconsin saying that we abandoned them. We left. I think that's a little bit unfair to say because our ancestors were doing the best they could with what they had at the time. Speaker 4 00:11:37 I can't imagine what that must have been like to face the decision of moving from where your people say is the origin of human beings. That's a pretty powerful thing. That was our Homeland. That is all that our people within that memory have ever known and to pick up, move away from the rest of the people in our Confederacy, hundreds of miles away and try to survive. I can't imagine what that must have been like and then to go through those decisions. And then later your relatives, your brothers and sisters who remained out east would say that we abandoned them. I think that's a pretty painful experience to hear people say that and to even live through that today. Mm-hmm <affirmative>. Speaker 3 00:12:24 Yeah. I'm sure. And so what was that removal or relocation? What was that journey like for your community? Speaker 4 00:12:31 So there was a combination of boats and walking and just different ways to get here through the great lakes. I know we've carried seeds with us and that's a huge part of what I'm trying to learn about now is what seeds did we take with us and what were those seeds? And are we still growing them here in our community? And we're slowly finding out more and more about that by talking to people. But if you could also imagine coming through and being so hungry and you have these seeds with you, the question, do you eat them or do you plant them so that you can have more in that following year? And I'm sure when they landed here, they were very hungry and they did not eat all of those seeds. They saved enough. So that when we came here, the first thing that we did is we started to clear land for gardens. Speaker 3 00:13:25 I wanna come back to those early years in Wisconsin in just a moment, but I was wondering how are the relations with the mono nominee people and other nations in the area, you know, upon Neo Nidos arrival? Speaker 4 00:13:40 So my understanding is that we negotiated with the Menominees in the whole chunks. We actually purchased the ability to stay here. Now, again, we have to understand that our concept during that time of land ownership was very different than what the Europeans concept of land ownership and land titles is. That's not to say that we didn't have territories that even families didn't have Berry patches. We had an idea of who's using what land, but we did. So in a way that we worked together with our human neighbors and our planted animal relatives as well. So it was a way for us to be able to coexist peacefully here. And we did so with the people that were here in the area for a long time. And you can see that especially of the numbers of intermarriages that were happening. There were a lot of families that are married within Onida, mono nominee, Onida, HoChunk, all throughout Wisconsin for generations, since our first arrival here. So we were able to make this, our new Homeland and create a place for our future generations to live here in harmony with the different tribes around us and with all of creation around us. Speaker 3 00:14:53 What was life like in these first years, or the first little bit after relocating? Speaker 4 00:15:01 Well, you can see by the, the allotment maps that came through in the 1880s or 1890s or so where the settlement pattern are. So we settled along duck Creek that runs through the whole reservation and we set up our homesteads right along the Creek. So we started to build our homes. And also it's important to understand that thei people during this time were heavily Christianized. So we were building homes, just like the white settlers were, even though there was a number of us that still maintained our traditional identity and culture. So for the most part though, outward facing, we built our homes and had farms, just like a lot of the non-Indian neighbors that would soon relocate and be around in, in among us. Speaker 3 00:15:52 And how did this relocation impact the United people's diet or food ways? Speaker 4 00:16:00 So I'm not so sure it, it affected our food ways as much just by the fact that we were removed, except for that we had land again. So remember when we were over in New York, we had all of these land deals, not only with land companies like Ogden land company and different people just trying to get at our land, but the state of New York as well. So we were almost landless. So if we are an agricultural people, how do you maintain your agricultural lifestyle? If you have almost no land, we did have some land, but it certainly wasn't enough to support the entirety of the Onida population. So when we were removed to Wisconsin, we were able again, to resume that agricultural lifestyle. Sure. We had a lot of work to do, to clear some land, to get it ready for that. But our, the land here in Wisconsin was a whole lot like the land in our homelands. So it was familiar to us, a lot of the same plants and animals. The climate was the same. So we were, again, able to flourish as an agricultural people and rely on ourselves and just really reestablish ourselves as one night of people and those relationships with our foods. Speaker 3 00:17:14 And you started touch on this a little bit already. And you mentioned that you're just really starting to learn more about this right now, but are there any specific foods or seeds that made the journey with Onida people? Speaker 4 00:17:28 My understanding is we have an Onida corn, which is a lot like the Tuscarora white corn, that a lot of people throughout the Confederacy and everywhere and else grows that had still been grown in our community. And there are beans that have been continuously grown and we are growing some of those beans here on our farmstead. So that was pretty exciting to be able to track those down. What we're trying to do is trying to talk to different people in our community about those beans and especially their names so that we can find out more about their history and how long we have been growing them. But we are slowly through talking to people and showing them pictures, oh, Anja, a memory of those seeds that they may have had. So we are doing our best to try to revive them and share them out with the community. Speaker 3 00:18:19 You're starting to lead into my next question here a little bit already, but how are you continuing to preserve and practice your traditional food ways like in your own life? What does that look like for you as a citizen of the United nation? Speaker 4 00:18:33 So we have a 10 acre farmstead here on the reservation called Lulu. It means our foods where we plant things. So a faith keeper named our property this, after we explained what our plans were for this place, we really wanted to be able to be another resource for our community to come to not only just have access to more of our indigenous varieties of seeds, to understand how to plant them and how to plant them in the traditional methods, meaning the planting them in three sisters' gardens in the mounds, then how to take care of those plants, how to harvest them, how to preserve them, how to eat them, the different cooking tools and implements that go along with that. So just everything that celebrates our foods here, we've hosted a number of events. Even during COVID this summer, we had, I think, three or four small events where we had folks come and help, not only harvest, but cook our foods over an open fire in our clay pots, using our, you know, basketry using the different traditional tools and implements in preparing our foods. And, and let me tell you, our foods just really taste different and they hit different when you're using your traditional methods to do that. Speaker 3 00:19:47 Can you give us some examples of what some of the foods were that you were preparing? Speaker 4 00:19:51 Sure. So we of course had the corn soups, but my favorite was to cook our gun so hall, which is our cornbread over the fire. And we wrapped the cornbread in some leaves at the time that were still green. And then we put those under the coals and it just has a whole different taste. So one of the ways that we make our gonna stove hall, the most common way is by taking some corn flour and some beans mixing them together and then putting some boiling water. And then you form these like almost hockey, puck size cakes, some people, the old timers they made, 'em the size of dinner plates. I'm not that skilled yet to be able to get it to hold together. So we've made kind of smaller ones. And then you put that into a slow rolling boil of water, over a stove. Speaker 4 00:20:40 And then you wait about 20 to 30 minutes or so, depending on how big your gonna slow, how loafs are. And then when they start to float, you can kind of tell they're done. So that's, that's the way most of us are familiar with how to make 'em. But we had started to read in the WPA stories that one Ida people collected from other one Ida people in the late 1930s, early 1940s about putting these breads in the coals over a fire outside. So that's something that we were able to do a number of times this summer, and even just experimenting with different toppings on them, like mashing up some berries with maple syrup and putting that on there. Mm-hmm <affirmative>, it's, it's something really delicious stuff. Let me tell you my Speaker 3 00:21:20 Mouth is watering. Just listening to that. I, I really love some Oneida cornbread. So I know this might be a difficult question to answer, but thinking about all the different foods that you're growing and at your farm, do you have any favorites or ones that you're really excited about right now? Speaker 4 00:21:40 So I do, you know, like your children, you're not supposed to pick favorites, right? Well, I suppose they're to the sisters, so it's not like they're your children. I really do like the beans the best. I think they're the most generous and most forgiving of the three sisters and the be varieties that I was most excited about this summer were the ones that we received from the family of Ken hill, who was a bean grower for many, many years here in our community. And he passed away a number of years ago. And one of his grandsons came over and traded us four, four of the varieties of his beans. So we were able to grow those out and they, they all did phenomenal. And one variety in particular, which we're still trying to hunt the name for that bean. We just call it Ken's favorite. So that bean we're planning on planting an entire high tunnel's worth of just that bean so that we can share that out with a community so that his beans will continue to grow in a number of different yards and properties throughout the reservation. Speaker 3 00:22:44 Could you describe some of the characteristics of Ken's favorite? Speaker 4 00:22:49 Sure. She's a pole bean. And my understanding is that she was not necessarily supposed to be a full pole bean, but these ones, I, we grew in the high tunnel this summer and they just really took off. So we'll see what they grow just outside normal. But the pods themselves are just really remarkable because they turn this striped almost a FIA color. And they're really beautiful. So there's that being another bean that are very similar, but the beans themselves have different shapes. So her name might be Dowa, but we're not sure. And we just need to do a little more talking with people. My other hope too is for those bean varieties to send them back out east so that some of my seed mentors out there might be able to grow her and see if they recognize her so that we can start to piece together the stories of those beans, because you know, a lot of us have the same bean in different communities. Speaker 4 00:23:50 She has different names because they've been in different communities for so long. So it's kind of funny. So like one of the varieties that we grew a lot of this year, we know her as the hood, Naone true red, cranberry bean, and she's just a nice round plump little bean. And he's just fantastic in soups. That's the one that we grew enough to be able to fill a giant B jar, which is about five gallons. And so it's just kind of crazy that we were finally able to grow that much of one variety, the Mohawks out there call her a Mohawk, cranberry beans. So we're a little nervous about sending us some of our Owni seeds that way, because they may come back with Mohawk names. <laugh> I Speaker 3 00:24:34 Love that intention though, of sharing seeds back with the folks eastward, I'm gonna have to follow up in, in hearing how that goes. So I know that another part of what you've been doing in your community is you're part of a grower's cooperative. Can you tell us about that and how that got started? Speaker 4 00:24:57 Sure. So we have about 10 families that make up OGE Lago, which means among the corn stocks and there's different versions of why different people came together to join this co-op for us, our family, we really enjoy some corn soup and some GTO hall. And it's a very labor intensive product. Most of our foods are. So even though the United nation has June Hequa, which grows the corn, the cannery that processes, the corn and the retail outlets that sell it, it's still a little bit pricey. So we would, you know, grow some in our backyard and whatnot. But the concern that we had was that the Onida nation did such an amazing job with getting people to want to eat more of our corn, that they couldn't keep up with a demand. So people would get really upset. So we had these large tribal meetings by large, I mean like 1700 people would be in a meeting with microphones and complaining about June Hequa for not growing enough corn and being very critical of the tribal operations and the amount of corn that they produced for our community. Speaker 4 00:26:07 So a group of us got together and we said, hold on, wait a minute. This is not the tribal government's responsibility to provide all of the corn for our whole community as community members. And as families, we have a responsibility too. So we got together, even though most of us didn't have a clue what we were doing. We found out how to lease out some space about, I think we did maybe two or three acres that first year. And we relied heavily on different people in our community to help guide us in what we were doing. So a lot of us never even drove a tractor before or anything like that. And we planted, and we had some folks from out east come and help us pick, help, teach us different things that were really important. Like be careful how much you pick in the morning, cuz you need to have all that corn situated that day. Speaker 4 00:27:01 It's really easy to go out in the field and get carried away and think I can hus and braid that tomorrow, which might not always be a good idea, especially if there's moisture in that corn. So just as an example of that, that we had to really lean on our mentors, not only here in the community, but out east to be able to make that happen. And every success of year, our co-op has grown different people come and go. We've tried different types of corn, but none have been as successful as the tus grow, white corn that a lot of us grow. So that's been really exciting. One of the things too with our co-op is that while we do conventionally plant, we get the fields ready with tractors. We use all organic fertilizers and amendments to the soil. After we plant, we cultivate with the tractor until the corn gets so high. Speaker 4 00:27:53 But after that point, everything is by hand. So we hand weed, we hand harvest, we do all of this as a group. And then at the end of the season, we divide up our corn based on how much people put in that season. One of our fields for the co-op though is because we recognize that this conventional method of farming, even though we're using these organic amendments, isn't really the best thing for the earth. We know that the best way to do that mm-hmm <affirmative> is by hand, by disrupting the soil as little as possible by not concentrating on yield, but concentrating on the, the soil health and the relationships between the soil and the microbes and the, all the animals that live in the soil and the plants themselves. But we also understand that if you wanna grow food on a scale that we're able to, to be able to feed larger amounts of people that we're trying to find some type of a compromise there. So we're experimenting on one of our fields with different minimal till with the goal of no till methods, interceding, planting, different cover crops. It hasn't been as successful yet as our conventional farming methods, but we're not gonna give up on it because we have to find a different compromise because that conventional planting method might produce yields right now, but it's not good in the long term for our soil or for our people. Speaker 3 00:29:20 Could you also tell us a little bit about the barter market that you've been involved with in your community? Speaker 4 00:29:27 Yeah, sure. So friends of ours, Jen Falcon, Tony Kuma, they have a farmstead called GA Lale. It means gun where it hangs that's our traditional name for that part of the reservation where their farmstead is. And they're doing a lot of amazing things there. Not only do they grow our traditional foods, they also grow more contemporary foods like potatoes and garlic and these amazing peppers. They also have animals there. So they have chickens and turkeys and pigs, and, and now they have a whole bunch of goats over there. So it's, it's a proper farm that they have going on. Jen decided that she wanted to host this barter market. And we had been bartering our corn for a few years as each of us receives our share of the corn from the co-op with this idea that we don't wanna sell our corn because we think that that's really disempowering to the people to break down what they have to offer in monetary terms. Speaker 4 00:30:25 And we also think it might be a little concerning to the corn itself because how do you put value on your relative by having that dollar amount there for the corn? So we started bartering for our foods and for our corn. And because people think that, oh, I don't have anything to trade. Like, well you do you have these amazing skills and abilities. So we've traded for things like haircuts and singing lessons, proofread papers, math, tutoring, finding medicines in the woods. You know, of course my favorites are always, you know, the elk are things that you can't get around here, but we've traded for so many different things. And it's just so empowering to people so that they understand that they're worth is not measured in a dollar either, but that what they can give or what they can offer in exchange for this very labor intensive product, our food relatives. Speaker 4 00:31:21 So Jen decided to organize this event. And last year was the first year that we did this, uh, Miz C. So we were all masked up and we would bring our tables and chairs there. And we would set out our wearers and our products and the only rule there was no money. So we had to exchange all of our stuff that we had. So people brought a lot of canned goods that they canned themselves different SAS. Jen had a few like coupons for soups. So on, um, like a random Tuesday you'd have Jen make soup for you and said, so you don't have to cook for your family that night. So we just had all kinds of different things that we brought to trade. And it was really exciting to be able to see all of these different transactions that were happening and people were happy with what they were getting. Speaker 4 00:32:12 We offloaded some of our excess of items for things that we couldn't either grow ourselves, or we just didn't grow ourselves. The whole event was just really fun because not only was it a social event, but we got to learn more about the skills and things that different people had to offer. And this year we had another event and it was equally as exciting. We had more people that were able to come to this event. And we also, at the end had trader blanket. Two of our co members had traveled to Florida on the Powow circuit down there. And they had this event called a trader blanket. And then she brought that back up. And that's a way for us to go around in a circle and put things in the middle to work out a trade in front of everybody. So that was really fun and exciting to be able to do that as well. So I think this whole idea of recognizing that you just can't go around buying everything with money, that we have to rely on each other and our skills and what we can offer to help our community out. Speaker 3 00:33:14 Yeah. I just love the entire idea. It's been really inspirational to me and thinking about what that might look like, where I live, how I can make something like that happen. You know, it makes me really think about how we can revitalize both traditional trade and economic systems in the present day. So I have two more questions for you. First is what does food sovereignty mean to you personally? Speaker 4 00:33:44 So, you know, that's a huge word, right? It can mean so many different things to so many people, but for me, I think it's about us reclaiming our identity and reclaiming our place, reclaiming those relationships with our food relatives and recognizing that we are in a really privileged time because within my lifetime, even it was okay to make our ceremonies illegal, to punish people first speaking their language. So we are now in a time that we are able to have access to different resources in our community to have different classes. We're actually having classes about these things, you know, language or arts, all these different things in our community. So like for example, I never went to long house. My mom forbid me to go to long house. She was raised Catholic. I was raised Catholic. The long house was literally down the road from where I grew up, but there was still that shame and that stigma that went along with it. Speaker 4 00:34:46 And when my husband and I moved down to Madison for school, and we said, when we come home, we're gonna go to longhouse. When we come home, we're we're gonna do this and we're gonna do that. Well, we came home to really realize just how embedded the Christian religion was in our family and in our community. We were really afraid because we were worried, what would they say if we went to long house, what would we do when we got there? Because even though we both grew up in this community, we're not a part of that. And a lot of our family was not a part of that to fast forward a bit. Now my daughters, they've taken a number of language classes. They've done, you know, music of our culture programs. Longhouses is like home to them. We're raising them in a different time than even when, with our generation, what we grew up with. Speaker 4 00:35:37 I think that all has to do with, with our language or culture and our foods because our foods are, what's helping us bring us back to all of this stuff. Our long house is where we go to celebrate the changing of the seasons and what all of creation is offering to us. It's a bit more than a religion. It's more of a way of life, a way to be thankful and a way to gather with our friends and our relatives in celebration. Just a short story. When we were heading out east as part of our co-op to learn more about our traditional growing practices and to get some seeds from our mentors out east, we actually timed it so that they were having seed ceremony out there at their long house. And me and my daughters had been going to ceremony for a bit, but my husband still wasn't yet. Speaker 4 00:36:29 He was still a little bit nervous about it. And so we went out there and somebody asked, so are we going to long house? And elder in our group said, yes, yes, we are all of us <laugh>. And so everybody went to long house, my husband included. So we joke that I had to drag him all the way out to Onaga to get him into a long house. But ever since then, he's been coming to our long house. It's really a welcoming home. It feels like, like it's doing that. And it's so ironic that it's our foods and our seeds that brought him back to our culture. Speaker 3 00:37:03 Yeah, I think it's, it's done that for me. A lot of people that find themselves engaged in this work, our foods are a pathway back to ourselves. It's really incredible to experience that myself, but also to witness it for other people. All right. Becky, last question. So I'm inviting you to a feast honoring all of our relations. What are you bringing and why Speaker 4 00:37:26 <laugh> I can only bring one thing. Oh Speaker 3 00:37:29 Really? At least one thing, Speaker 4 00:37:30 Feast, what would I bring? I don't know what time of year is it? <laugh> Speaker 3 00:37:35 Um, Speaker 4 00:37:36 Springtime. Oh, I'd have to go a two parter here with our corn soup and our gun stove hall. They go hand in hand for our meals. But I think with the corn soup, I would go with a little bit of a different than our, our classic corn beans and our either smoked pork or smoked Turkey. And I would go with our three sister soup because that really captures the three sisters that's with our corn, our bean, our squash. We have other things in there like carrots and parsnips and tomatoes. You feel good after you eat that kind of food. And then to pair that with some of our gun tho hall, I might even have to get extra fancy and make it over the fire too. Just so you can taste some of that. Speaker 3 00:38:16 Well, I'm looking forward to it. I just wanna save me glitch for generously sharing your time, knowledge, and experiences with us. And I wish you all the best with all your efforts that you're working on in your community. Speaker 4 00:38:30 Thanks. Yeah. Go. Speaker 3 00:38:36 The SP plate podcast is an honoring of all the indigenous communities across turtle island. We're working to preserve and revitalize their ancestral food base. In this space. We will talk about indigenous food base as means of resistance, resilience, and revitalization. Thank you for listening to removal and relocation episode four of spirit plate. We hope you enjoyed it. A big thank you to Becky Webster on seed keeper, farmer and attorney, the Canella, Becky and her farm on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube by searching, um, Guo. That is K w a K H a w throughout season one. We'll discuss some of the social political and historical reasons why the indigenous food sovereignty movement is necessary. A critical understanding of the journey that led us here needs to become a more common understanding before American society can give life to a new, more equitable food system and a more equitable food system requires narrative equity. Speaker 3 00:39:35 Indigenous people must get to define their own relationship to land and food and tell the story of their work themselves. Through interviews with seed keepers, chefs, farmers, and community members. This podcast will share what food justice and sovereignty looks like for indigenous peoples across turtle island. As your host, I'm inviting you to the table and into a deeper conversation. I hope that you'll be inspired to think about your own connection to place and how this has influenced your relationship to food. I also hope you'll feel moved to build genuine relationships with the original caretakers of the place you reside and consider how you can stand in solidarity with their communities. If you would like to learn which indigenous communities Homeland you reside upon, visit That is N a T I E dash L a N You can subscribe to spirit play anywhere. You get your podcasts, and we'll be back next week with Eric Hemingway, the director of repatriation archives and records at the little traverse bay bands of Odawa about the policies and events that took place throughout the allotment era and how those impacted Odawa relationships to land spirit plate is part of the Wetstone radio collective. Speaker 3 00:40:49 Thank you to the spirit plate team producer and music composer, Kat gang, audio editors, KA Salinas and Bethany sand researcher, Giselle Kennedy, Lord and intern indigo Clarkson. I'd also like to thank Wetstone founder, Steven Satterfield, Wetstone radio collective executive producer, Celine glassier sound engineer and music designer, max cuddle, Chuck associate producer, Quentin Lebo production assistant. I'm a Lisa TKO and sound intern, Simon lavender. You can learn more about this [email protected] at Instagram and Twitter at Wetstone radio and subscribe to our YouTube channel Westone radio collective for more podcast, video content, you can learn more about all things [email protected] until next time BA.

Other Episodes

Episode 2

January 31, 2022 00:42:39
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A Landscape of Relations with Rowen White

In this episode, Rowen White—Mohawk farmer, seed keeper, and organizer—joins us to talk about relationships to land and food, upholding our responsibilities to our kin, and developing a new lexicon to talk about the food system. She shares her practice of cultivating relational, kin-centric foodways and the possibilities opened by this worldview. Topics covered in this episode: Min 1:38: Meet Rowen White  Min 6:57: The Mohawk creation story Min 9:45: Issues with the term “food system” Min 12:42: Cultivating kin-centric food ways Min 16:30: Rethinking the word “economy” Min 18:05: Rowen’s journey to seed keeping  Min 20:18: Tomatoes as Rowen’s first seed teachers Min 23:41: The importance of food sovereignty Min 26:38: Food sovereignty vs. self-reliance Min 28:20: Farming in the Sierra Nevada foothills of California  Min 33:05: How to build a connection to the land Min 36:40: What Rowen would bring to a feast honoring their ancestors  Spirit Plate is part of the Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about this episode of Spirit Plate at, on IG and Twitter at @whetstoneradio, and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio. Guest: Rowen White (@rowenwhite) ...


Episode 3

February 07, 2022 00:39:10
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Reconnecting with Our Foods & Seeds with Shelley Buffalo

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Episode 5

February 21, 2022 00:31:43
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Allotment & Assimilation Pt. 1 with Eric Hemenway

During the Allotment & Assimilation Era (1887-1930) the U.S. government moved to assimilate Native peoples into American society and the economy. Private land ownership was forced onto Indigenous peoples by breaking apart communal lands into family parcels, effectively altering relationships to land and food. In many cases, Native peoples were forced to shift from subsistence lifestyles and traditional forms of trade to growing food as a commodity. This commodity-based approach to food was and continues to be in conflict with traditional relationships, knowledge, and practices related to growing food. Topics covered in this episode: Min 1:30: Meet Eric Hemenway Min 2:30: Introduction to the Allotment & Assimilation Era  Min 4:22: Division of land Min 6:10: The Burt Lake Burnout Min 9:58: Shiloh’s scorched corn and fish cakes Min 16:31: Convoluted allotment in northern Michigan Min 20:51: Impacts of allotment on the Odawa community Min 25:29: Debunking stereotypes Spirit Plate is part of the Whetstone Radio Collective. Learn more about this episode of Spirit Plate at, on IG and Twitter at @whetstoneradio, and YouTube at /WhetstoneRadio. Guest: Eric Hemenway ...