What do you do before you sit down to a meal? For many of us, the idea of even sitting down for a meal is almost unthinkable. Our lives are hectic, hurried and rushed and eating is sometimes simply something we do in order to have the energy to continue on with the rat race. We may eat at our desk while trying to crank out some more work before an impending deadline or in the car as we race from one task to the next. The advent of fast food restaurants was nothing more than a response to this culture of hastiness and business. For a lot of us, food is the farthest thing from sacred than we can imagine.
Now imagine, if you can, another culture where food is the epitome of the Sacred found in the Universe; where food is seen as a gift from the world to keep us alive; a gift deserving of our respect and awareness. Imagine a people asking permission of the land before sowing their corn, giving thanks when the rains come on time, celebrating the harvest in community and honoring the delicate natural balance that made the corn possible every time they sit down for a meal.
For many Native American cultures, this reverence for the forces that make food possible is still a vital part of their tradition. The value and esteem that these cultures place on something that so many of us take for granted is often confounding but revitalizing for those of us who have forgotten the simple fact that food is one of the most basic necessities for life. We also tend to forget that food comes from the land, and for Native American cultures that still maintain strong connections to the land, this reality is much more palpable and present.
Thousands of people who want to discover a new way to relate to food are turning to Native cultures. Though Native American reservations aren´t usually considered a vacation “hot spot,” more and more people are organizing vacation tours to reservations. One of the main interests in visiting Native American cultures is to experience firsthand the culinary traditions imbued with a deep sense of respect and reverence.
If you´re interested in learning more about Native American cuisine and the ancestral traditions that influence Native American eating, organizing a culinary vacation to a Native American reservation might be a possibility for you.
There are hundreds of Native American cultures in the United States which allows for a diverse array of experiences. From harvesting the wild rice with the Ojibwe in the Great Lakes Region to shucking the blue corn of the Hopis in the Southwest and everything in between, you can discover a whole new world of food in Native American communities.
The first and most important step to organizing a trip to a Native American reservation is to research the history of the people you would like to visit. Knowing a bit of their history and their traditions is important and necessary. Many reservations have strict rules regarding visitors, and it´s necessary to ask permission before coming onto the reservation and learn about what is accepted and what is not. But when a trip is organized in coordination with the Native American leadership on the reservations, an unforgettable experience awaits!