Food is an expression of culture. All cultures share
the love of food, whether it is a collection of the familys favourite
recipes, their memorable meals, or the rituals around collecting and preparing
food. This common bond between people is a good place to start to learn
about each others culture. Bannock, for instance, is a favourite
food of First Nations on Turtle Island (North America) and all Canadians.
The Bannock Awareness recipe book is a collection of favourite bannock
related recipes (with a few others) and of little known facts about First
Nations history and culture.
In precontact times, bannock was made from natural substances gathered
from the woods: flour from roots, natural levening agents and a sweet
syrupmade from the sap of trees. Elders have warned me that today's reliance
on "white foods" -refined sugar and flour- are contributing
to an overal decline in the health of the people. While it would be impractical
to return to the woods for all our sustenance needs, it is possible to
chose healthier alternatives. Try substituting whole wheat flower and
maple syrup or honey for sweeteners into the recipes for a more natural
The Ministry of Forests produced Bannock Awareness in
commemoration of Aboriginal Awareness Day, which is celebrated annually
on the 21st day of June. Food is used here to remind us of some core human
characteristics which all cultures share such as the love of food and
our children. We can help build bridges and a brighter future by sharing
our favourite recipes and by learning about our history. Unfortunately,
most Canadians know little about the history of colonization and its subsequent
affects on First Nations cultures. This history has dramatically
shaped the events and issues faced by all Canadians today. Regardless
of the issues at hand such as the lack of treaties, disputes over logging
sacred mountains or the affects of cattle grazing on medicinal plant gathering
areas, there are usually two points of agreement:
- First Nations and non-First Nations people are here
to stay and;
- Both parties prefer negotiation to litigation or confrontation.
We can do our children a favour by learning about the history of the
current conflict over rights to the land and celebrating some of our
common interests, such as the love of a freshly deep-fried piece of
I would like to thank all the contributors, Joyce Sam,
Rhonda Ned, Reuben Blackwater, Del Blackstock, Thelma Blackstock and to
Rhonda McAllister for helping me design and write this collection.
Michael D. Blackstock, RPF, MA
Aboriginal Affairs Manager
Kamloops Forest Region
June 21, 2000
The necessary assumptions in any bridge building project
- The existence of the other side - There is no point
in building a bridge to nowhere. The other side exists and has a right
- Solidity of both sides - The base or basis of a bridge
must be accepted at both ends.
- Existence of a gap (river, canyon, etc.) - If there
is only one piece of ground, there is no need for a bridge.
- The gap is not too wide to bridge - No one tries
to build a bridge across an ocean.
- The gap is not too deep to bridge - Although deep
gaps may exist - and they are very real and not mere illusions - still
a bridge can be built.
- The value of a bridge - They are mutually helpful
and beneficial. Bridges are costly but worth it.
3 cups unbleached flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup milk mixed with
3/4 cup hot water (hot enough so mixed liquid is
almost too hot to touch)
1 tbsp oil or shortening
oil or shortening for deep frying (heated to 360°F)
Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda
and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in milk/water mixture and knead briefly
with lightly oiled hands until smooth. Rub the remainder of the one
tbsp of oil over the dough. Cover and let it sit for about 30 minutes.
Pat or roll enough dough to fit in the palm of your hand in a circle
about 1/8 thick (at least, a touch thicker is better). Deep-fry
the dough in hot oil or shortening for about one minute per side,
or until golden brown. Makes 10-12 pieces.
- Aboriginal Tourism - Native Cuisine
The Aboriginal staff of life, Bannock, is common to
the diet of virtually all North Americas first peoples. The European
version of bannock originated in Scotland and was made traditionally of
oatmeal. The bannock of Aboriginal people was made of corn and nut meal,
and flour made from ground plant bulbs. There were many regional variations
of bannock that included different types of flour, and the addition of
dried or fresh fruit. Traditionally, First Nation groups cooked their
bannock by various methods. Some rolled the dough in sand then pit-cooked
it. When it was done, they brushed the sand off and ate the bread. Some
groups baked the bannock in clay or rock ovens. Other groups wrapped the
dough around a green, hardwood stick and toasted it over an open fire.
Pioneers may have introduced leavened breads to the Aboriginal people.
The use of leavened breads spread and adapted from there. Pioneers also
introduced cast-iron frying pans that made cooking bannock quicker and
easier. Today, bannock is most often deep-fried, pan-fried and oven-baked.
Bannock is one of the most popular and widespread native foods served
at pow wows, Indian cowboy rodeos, festivals, and family gatherings.
Cook the Navajo Fry bread in cooking oil that has two tablespoons of
Top the cooked bannock with: chilli, shredded strong cheddar cheese,
shredded lettuce, chopped tomato and onion (sour cream and salsa are optional).
- Michael Blackstock
Aboriginal peoples are defined as the descendants
of the original inhabitants of North America. The Canadian Constitution
of 1982 defines Aboriginal peoples to include First Nations, Inuit and
Metis peoples. These separate groups have unique heritages, languages,
cultural practices and spiritual beliefs. Their common linkage is their
The term "First Nation" came into popular
use in the 1970s to replace the word "Indian", which some
found offensive. The term Indian was first used by Christopher Columbus
in 1492, believing that he had reached India. The term "Indian"
is still used in various Canadian documents, most notable the Indian Act.
There are three legal definitions of "Indian" in Canada (not
to be confused with "Aboriginal"): Status Indians - those who
are registered or entitled to be registered under the Indian Act. Non-Status
Indians - those not entitled to be registered under the Indian Act. Treaty
Indians - those belonging to a First Nation whose ancestors signed a treaty
with the Crown and as a result are entitled to treaty benefits.
First Nation is also often used to replace the term "band" in
the name of communities.
AWPI - Canada (Indian and Northern Affairs) 1998
Basic Bannock Recipe
1 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3 tbsp margarine/butter
2 tbsp skim milk powder (optional)
(Fried or Stick-cooked)
Sift together the dry ingredients. Cut in the margarine until the
mixture resembles a coarse meal (at this point it can be sealed it
in a ziplock bag for field use). Grease and heat a frying pan. Working
quickly, add enough COLD water to the pre-packaged dry mix to make
a firm dough. Once the water is thoroughly mixed into the dough, form
the dough into cakes about 1/2 inch thick. Dust the cakes lightly
with flour to make them easier to handle. Lay the bannock cakes in
the warm frying pan. Hold them over the heat, rotating the pan a little.
Once a bottom crust has formed and the dough has hardened enough to
hold together, you can turn the bannock cakes. Cooking takes 12-15
minutes. If you are in the field and you dont have a frying
pan, make a thicker dough by adding less water and roll the dough
into a long ribbon (no wider than 1 inch). Wind this around a preheated
green, hardwood stick and cook about 8 inches over a fire, turning
occasionally, until the bannock is cooked.
The relationship between Aboriginal and non-aboriginal
people evolved through 4 stages:
- Pre-contact - Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people
lived on separate continents and knew nothing of one another.
- Years following first contact - Fragile relations
of peace, friendship and rough equality.
- Power shifted to non-Aboriginal people and governments.
They moved Aboriginal people off most of their lands and took steps
to "civilize" them and teach them European ways.
- Presently, it is a time for recovery for Aboriginal
people and culture, a time for critical review of our relationship,
and a time for its renegotiation and renewal.
- People to People, Nation to Nation (1996)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup blueberries
Mix the dry ingredients together, add the blueberries and stir. Add
the water quickly and continue to stir.
Spread the batter on a pie plate and put in a preheated oven heated
to 425°F. Bake for 20 minutes. Cut in pieces and serve hot or cold.
Excellent served with mint tea.
- This recipe comes from the Cappilano Reserve, Chilliwack, BC and
belongs to the Shuswap people.
1492 - Christopher Columbus "discovers"
America (believing he has landed in the "Indies", he describes
the people as "Indians").
April -The Nisga'a Final Agreement passed with a free vote witin BC
September - Westbank Indian Band commences harvesting on its traditional
territory. Interior Alliance prepares to launch an international consumer
boycott in the United States and Europe of forest products from BC.
The Interior Alliance and the Union of BC Indian Chiefs supports the
Okanagan Nation at Westbank in its timber harvest operation. A BC Supreme
Court Judge declines to stop Westbank Band. The Judge ruled that the
issue of Aboriginal and Crown title should be quickly dealt with. Adams
Lake, Neskonlith and Spallumcheen bands commence timber harvesting on
traditional lands in the Harper Lake area. Nuxalk Nation (Bella Coola)
starts harvesting. The Interior Alliance confirms that all the area
in the south central Interior of BC is subject to the Aboriginal title
of Interior Alliance nations and is directly affected by the Delgamuukw
October - Province issues stop-work orders at the Harper Lake logging
site and steps up its fight against "unauthorized" Native
1539 - Francisco de Vitoria proposed that Indians own the lands they occupy.
1763 - A Royal Proclamation outlines the basic principles of Canadian
Indian Policy: recognition of Indian lands, recognition of Indian governments
and provision of a treaty process with the crown.
1867 - July 1, the British North America Act is passed making Canada a
nation. Constitution Act was written.
1868 - The new Canadian Parliament passes an "Act for the gradual
civilization of Indian Peoples." The Indian Act becomes a key tool
for assimilation - it has three major functions:
1. Creation of reduced reserve lands which do not reflect traditional
2. Creation of band councils which replace and undermine the authority
of traditional tribal governments.
3. Defining who is an "Indian" under the Indian Act
1871 - BC joins the Dominion of Canada
1872 - Residential schools are set up.
1876 - The Governor General, the Earl of Dufferin, gives a speech in Victoria
condemning the BC government for not recognizing Indian title.
1880 - Indian Act amended to provide for the automatic enfranchisement
of any Indian who earns a university degree, and any Indian woman who
marries a non-Indian or an unregistered Indian.
1884 - Indian Act amendments include prison sentences for anyone convicted
of participating in the potlatch or tawanawa dance rituals
1885 - Canadian Government sends in troops to crush the Riel Rebellion
in Saskatchewan. Nov 16: Louis Riel, after this second Metis "rebellion"
and in spite of a recommendation for mercy from a jury, is hanged in Regina.
1887 - Nisgaa chiefs travel to Victoria to demand that the government
recognize land titles, treaties and their right to self-government
1900 - Genocide has reduced the indigenous population north of the Rio
Grande, estimated at 12-15 million in 1492, to 300,000.
1908 - The Gitskan First Nation petitions the federal government for recognition
of its land claim
1915 - the first pan-tribal organization in BC, The Allied Tribes of BC,
is created to address the "the land question".
1927 - The Federal government makes it an offence punishable by imprisonment
to raise money to press for land claims.
1944 - The North American Indian Brotherhood is formed to unite Indians
1947 - First Nation people are given the right to vote in provincial elections.
1951 - Parliament repeals legislation prohibiting potlatches and the pursuit
of land claims.
1960 - July 1, Indian people win the right to vote in federal elections.
1973 - Calder Case - rules that the concept of Aboriginal title is part
of Canadian law.
1973 - A federal policy for settlement of Aboriginal Land Claims was established (see Land Claims
1978 - Metis and Non-Status Indian organizations receive funding to research
1982 - Section 35 is inserted into the Constitution Act affirming
the existence of Aboriginal and treaty rights. It includes Indian, Inuit
and Metis peoples in the definition of "Aboriginal peoples of Canada".
1984 - The Gitxsan and Wetsuwten initiate their claim in BC
Supreme Court for ownership, jurisdiction and self government over 58,000
km2 of traditional territory.
1985 - Bill C-31 (amendment to the Indian Act) is passed. It removes
the discrimination, restores status and membership rights, and increases
the control of Indian bands over their own affairs.
1987-1990 - Gitxsan and Wetsuwten trial takes place in Smithers
1990 - Failure of the Meech Lake Accord.
1990 - BC joins Canada and BC First Nations in treaty Negotiations.
1990 - BC Claims Task Force was formed by Canada, BC and BC First Nations.
1991 - BC Supreme Court Justice Allan McEachern rules in the initial Delgamuukw
decision that aboriginal interests do not include ownership of or jurisdiction
over the disputed territory.
1991 - One of the key recommendations from the BC Task Force report is
the establishment of the BC Treaty Commission to oversee the treaty process.
1991 - Royal Commission on Aboroginal Peoples (RCAP) was established with
a 16-point mandate and consisting of four Aboriginal and three non-aboriginal
1993 - BC Court of Appeals five judges unanimously ruled in the
appeal of the 1991 Delgamuukw case, that native rights were never extinguished
by the colonial government before confederation and that the rights are
protected in the constitution. This ruling is known as Delgamuukw 2.
1993 - BC Treaty Commission was established.
1994 - The Supreme Court of Canada agrees to hear a further appeal from
the Gitxsan and Wetsuweten but is adjourned until June 1995
1996 - Negotiations break down between federal and provincial governments
and Gitxsan negotiators.
1996 - A five-volume Final Report of the Royal Commission of Aboriginal
Peoples was released with 440 recommendations.
1997 - The Supreme Court of Canadas Delgamuukw 3 decision orders
a new trial that fundamentally alters the legal relationship between aboriginals
and government. It recognizes the existence of Aboriginal rights and title,
and the right of First Nations to derive an economic interest in traditional
1999 - Nunavut becomes a territory on April 1 with its own public government.
2000 - The Nisga'a Final Agreement received Royal Assent from the Government
- Colonialism on Trial (1992), Aboriginal Workforce Participation
Initiative (1998), Secwepemc News, Oct. 1999.
3 1/4 cups sunflower seeds
3 1/4 cups water
2 1/2 tsp salt
6 tbsp corn flour
2/3 cup corn oil
Put the sunflower seeds, water and salt into a pot, cover and let
simmer for 11/2 hours. When well cooked, crush the seeds to make a
paste. Add the corn flour, 1 tbsp at a time to thicken. Work with
your hands; cool a little.
Make small, flat pancakes of approximately 5 inches in diameter.
Heat oil and fry both sides, adding more oil if necessary. Drain well
- Exported from MasterCook
Manons White Woman Bannock!
DO NOT PREHEAT YOUR OVEN!!!!!
6 cups of flour
2 tbsp (heaping) baking powder
2 tsp (heaping) salt
1 inch wide (or so) of lard
sprinkle of white sugar (optional)
2 cups of very warm water (warm enough so the lard will melt when
mixing everything together)
Mix dry ingredients together, add lard, using your hands to blend
it together. Add water and form a big ball and let sit in the bowl
for a minute or two with a clean tea towel over it. Pat it out until
the shape of a pizza (not too thin or you will have hockey pucks for
bannock!). Use one of your biggest glasses to cut out your bannock
and put in ungreased pan. Using a fork, poke your bannock twice (uncertain
why but Manons mother in law does it!)
Turn the oven to 425°F and bake for 25 minutes. Raise the rack to
the top for the last 5 minutes. GOOD LUCK!
- Manon Metz
Thelmas Lazyman Biscuit/Bannock
2 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp margarine
1 cup milk
1 cup water
Mix ingredients together and pour onto a lightly greased (with margarine)
cookie sheet. Bake in oven at 450°F for 20 minutes. Cut it right away
into squares. It is good with soup or as a snack.
- Thelma Blackstock
Prince Edward Island Baked Bannock
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp brown sugar
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup milk
Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening and then stir in
milk. Form a ball of dough using flour to prevent sticking to hands.
Roll into a square approximately 2 thick. Mark with squares
(by making shallow cuts into the dough so cutting is easier after
it is baked) and bake at 350°F for about 1/2 hour.
- Tourist Kiosk at Confederation Bridge
Bella Coola Bannock Recipe
4 cups flour
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 can milk, mix with water
1/4 cup margarine/butter
pinch of salt
Combine all the ingredients until they are thoroughly mixed. Pinch
some of the dough and shape it. Fry it in hot oil until golden brown.
- Greg Mazur
Frozen Blueberry Velvet
12 cups fresh blueberries, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup water
2 cups sugar
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp unflavoured gelatin
1/2 cup water
Combine berries and water. Cover and cook over low heat until berries
are soft. Crush them as they are cooking. Press berries through a
food sieve or mill. Add sugar, lemon juice and salt. soak gelatin
in water for 5 minutes. Add to hot puree. Cool. Pour into large container
or bowl and freeze until half frozen. Remove from freezer and beat
until fluffy. Fill small containers 3/4 full with mixture. Cover tightly
and freeze until firm. Store until needed. YIELD: 1 gallon.
How to use:
Blueberry Velvet can be thawed and stirred into vanilla cream, used
as a sauce, or beaten into cream cheese for a sandwich filling. Frozen,
it is a sherbet to be scooped out and put over cake, friut and added
to fruit juices.
- North Thompson Indian Band
Did you know?
- Thompson Ethnobotany
Pit cook or steam black tree lichen (Bryoria fuscescens)
It turns into a hardened licorice tasting "bannock". It
can be cooked with berries like saskatoons to add sweetness and flavour.
- Mary Thomas - Elder - Neskonlith Indian Band
In general, Aboriginal people are required to pay taxes,
except where limited exemptions apply (outlined below). The Tax exemptions
originate under Section 87 in the Indian Act, not under
the Revenue Canada Tax Services office.
A First Nation (status Indian) can buy goods and services
without paying tax on them on one of two conditions:
- The goods or services are purchased on a reserve or;
- The goods or services will be delivered to a reserve.
Employment income is tax-exempt only if:
- All work is performed on a reserve.
- Most or all work is performed off reserve, but the
First Nation person lives on a reserve and the employer is a resident
on a reserve.
- Some of the work is performed off a reserve, but most
of the work is on reserve and either the employee or the employer is
a resident on a reserve.
- Most work is performed off reserve as an employee
All other Status Indians are required to pay income tax.
Inuit and Metis are also required to pay income tax and all other taxes.
- Answers to Basic Tax Exemption Questions for Aboriginal
Whole Wheat Bannock
1 1/2 cups white flour
4 tsp baking powder
dash of salt
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp sugar
Heat frying pan with 1/4 inch of canola oil. Combine all dry ingredients.
Make a well in the middle and add water. Stir until the dough is a
thick batter (It will be a gooey mess). Drop a generous tablespoon
of dough into the heated pan; spread the dough to 1/2 inch in thickness
(use a spoon and fork for this step).
When the bannock is puffed and brown on one side (yes, peek if you
wish), then flip it over and brown it on the other side. Smother with
favourite toppings - Rogers Golden Syrup, honey, peanut butter,
jam or jelly or even a taco filling. You may also sprinkle it with
a sugar/cinnamon mixture (1part cinnamon to 10 parts sugar).
- Louise Framst in A Tahltan Cookbook
In 1973, the federal government established a federal
policy for the settlement of Aboriginal land claims with two key points:
- A six-claim limit of the number of negotiations which
could be undertaken at one time;
- The division of claims into two broad categories -
comprehensive and specific.
- Comprehensive land claims - those that are based
on the concept of continuing Aboriginal rights and title which have
not been dealt with by treaty or other legal means. These claims are
negotiated through the British Columbia Treaty Commission treaty process
in BC; and
- Specific land claims - those that arise from
alleged non-fulfilment of Indian treaties and other lawful obligations,
or from the alleged improper administration of lands and other assets
under the Indian Act or other formal agreements.
Because of the difficulty and length of time to come to
some resolution, the federal government created the Indian Claims Commission
(1991) to provide a forum for hearing disputes over specific claims. The
Commission can make recommendations. It can also provide a facilitator
to assist the First Nations, provincial government and federal government
to come to a decision, but the final decision is with the Minister. In
1990, the federal government announced the elimination of the six-claim
- Joyce Sam, Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Merritt District
& the Indian and Northern Affairs
2 3/4 cups corn flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp lard
2/3 cup water
(Fried or Baked)
Preheat oven to 450°F. Grease lightly a cast iron frying pan, or
baking sheet. Stir and blend together the flour, baking powder and
salt. With a pastry blender or two knives, finely cut in the lard.
Then gradually stir in the water. Stir with a fork to make a soft,
slightly sticky dough. Turn dough on a lightly floured surface and
knead gently 8-10 times. Roll out or pat 1/2 inch thick, or flatten
dough to fit frying pan. Cook in frying pan on hat ashes over an open
fire (turning to brown both sides), or on a baking sheet in oven for
approximately 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cut and serve
with butter. Makes 1 loaf.
- Aboriginal Tourism - Native Cuisine
Feast/Potlatch - The potlatch ceremony illustrates
the importance of sharing and giving. This ceremony was the cultural backbone
of the Northwest Coast Aboriginal Peoples. High-ranking chiefs, to celebrate
important public events such as initiation, marriage, the investiture
or death of a chief or the raising of a totem pole, hosted a potlatch.
The ceremony lasted anywhere from a day to several weeks, and involved
feasts, spirit dancing and theatrical performances. In 1884, the Canadian
government banned potlatch ceremonies, questioning their moral basis.
The ban was lifted in 1951.
- Colonialism on Trial & Aboriginal Workforce
Pow-wow - An ancient tradition among some
Aboriginal people to celebrate and socialize after religious ceremonies.
It is now common for pow-wows to be held throughout BC, however, in some
areas the pow-wow is a relatively new kind of celebration. In some cultures,
the pow-wow itself was a religious event when families held naming and
- Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative
3 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup lard
1 cup soured milk*
Lard or shortening for skillet
In a bowl, stir together dry ingredients. Cut in lard until mixture
resembles a fine meal. Make well in centre, pour in soured milk and
stir using light strokes, just until liquid is absorbed. Knead lightly
5-6 times to make a smooth dough; set aside.
In large heavy skillet, melt just enough lard to thinly coat bottom
of pan. Heat pan over medium heat for 5 minutes. Divide dough into
6 portions; shape into flat, round buns about 3/4 inches thick. Arrange
in pan (in batches if necessary). Cover and cook for 6 minutes or
until bottoms are deep golden brown. Turn buns, replace cover and
cook for 6 minutes longer. Remove to rack and let cool before serving.
*To sour milk: Add enough milk to 1 1/2 tsp vinegar to make 1 cup.
- Canadian Living Magazine
Aboriginal rights - Rights that some Aboriginal
peoples in Canada hold as a result of their ancestors long-standing
use and occupancy of the land. The rights of certain Aboriginal peoples
to hunt, trap and fish on ancestral lands are examples of Aboriginal rights
accorded either through treaties or formal agreements. Aboriginal rights
vary from group to group depending on the customs, practices and traditions
that form part of the groups distinctive culture.
- Aboriginal Workforce Participation Initiative (Canada)
Aboriginal Title includes: A right to the land
itself and exists independent of aboriginal rights (with some exceptions,
much like fee simple) Encompasses the right to exclusive use and occupation
of the land for a variety of discretionary purposes It is a burden on
the underlying title of the Crown It is held communally, and is inalienable
and cannot be transferred, sold or surrendered, except to the federal
Crown Uses of the land must not be irreconcilable with the factors that
gave rise to the claim of aboriginal title
- Ministry of Forests Aboriginal Rights & Title
Blackfoot Fried Yeast Bread
1 cup lukewarm water
1 1/4 ounce package of active dry yeast
2 tbsp softened butter
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 1/2 to 3 cups unbleached flour
oil or shortening, for deep frying
Place water in a mixing bowl, sprinkle yeast over water and allow
to sit for 5 minutes. Add butter, sugar, and 2 1/2 cups of flour and
salt. Knead, adding enough flour to form a stiff dough. Allow to rise
for one hour. Place oil in a deep saucepan and heat to 350°F. Form
dough into cakes approximately 4 inches in diameter and about 1/4
inch thick and deep fry for about one minute per side or until golden
brown. Makes 8-10 pieces.
- Aboriginal Tourism - Native Cuisine
The Metis are one of three distinct Aboriginal peoples
of Canada (Inuit and Status Indian are the other two), recognized by the
The word Metis comes from the Latin "miscere",
to mix. It was used originally to describe the children of Native women
and French men. Other terms for these children were "Country-born,
Black Scots, and Half-Breeds."
The Metis were instrumental in the development of western
Canada. They quickly became intermediaries between European and Indian
cultures, working as guides, interpreters, and provisioners to the new
forts and trading companies. Their villages sprang up from the Great Lakes
to the MacKenzie delta. The Metis homeland encompasses parts of present-day
Ontario, BC, the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
Metis culture was a combination of French, English and
Indian influences that took root and flourished. The Metis developed a
unique language called Michif that has Cree-French roots. Metis dress
included woven sashes, embroidered gun sheaths, deerhide hats, and quilled
and beaded pipe bags. The Metis logo is an infinity sign.
- Metis National Council
1 lb Jerky (venison, beef, etc.)
2 tbsp Brown sugar
2 oz Raisins
5 oz Suet
The First Nations (and Metis) used pemmican as a trail food. It keeps
well for long periods of time.
Run dry jerky through a food grinder a few times until it is the
consistency of fine meal. For each pound of jerky meal, add 2 ounces
of raisins and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. When the mixture is well
blended, melt the suet and stir it in. The result, when the suet hardens
and cools, is pemmican. There are many variations of this simple theme.
- Jim Speirs Cooking Page
Soapberry (also known as Soopolallie) shrubs are
nitrogen fixers. This means they have special bacterial nodules on their
roots that allow them to capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and release
it into the soil where plants can make use of it. Interior First Nations
whip the berries with a little water into a light foam to make a nutritious
and refreshing "ice cream." The berries are high in iron content
and were eaten fresh, dried, or boiled into a syrup for use as a drink.
- Plants of the Southern Interior
1/4 cup water
1 cup soapberries or
2 tbsp of canned or dried soapberries or soapberry concentrate
Beat the mixture into a light foam - the consistency
of beaten egg whites. After the foam begins to thicken gradually add
the sugar. Usually three to four tablespoons per cup of fresh berries
(or to taste)
Makes about 4-6 servings
*Make sure the berries, bowl and utensils dont come into contact
with grease or oil because it will not whip and become nice and fluffy.
- Food Plants of Interior First Peoples
First Nations women used to make whippers out
Silverberry bark - by tying a loose bundle of shredded
bark on to a handle.
Rocky Mountain Maple - the fibrous bark was used
with no handle.
Pinegrass - the roots were cut off and the leaves
used to whip.
Loose bundles of bark and pinegrass held in the hand was more difficult
than using a whipper with a handle. Whipping was started at the top
of the mixture then slowly lowered down into the bowl until the mixture
was all fluffy and well incorporated. Sometimes just the hands were
used for whipping. Whippers could be washed and reused.
- Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and usage of
plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia
XwUsum (pronounced hoshum) Lemonade
5 ml juice
1 litre water
Boil soopalallie berries, strain the juice and preserve by canning
(canned soapberry juice will keep for about 3 years if sealed well).
Later sweetener and water are added to the juice to make a thirst
quenching juice. Honey or dried saskatoon berries can be used as a
sweetener over sugar.
- Mike Blackstock
In 1996, Governor General Romeo Leblanc
proclaimed June 21, National Aboriginal Day to honour First Nations, Inuit,
and Metis cultures, and to recognize the many contributions Aboriginal
peoples have made to Canada.
1982 - the National Indian Brotherhood (now the Assembley of First Nations)
adopted a resolution calling for the "creation of June 21 as National
Aboriginal Soldarity Day".
1990 - the Quebec legislature was the first in Canada to recognize June
21 as a day to celebrate Aboriginal Culture.
1995 - the Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
people, chaired by Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate
the contributions of Aboriginal peoples.
June 13, 1996 - during a ceremony at Rideau Hall, the former Governor
General declared June 21 as National Aboriginal Day after federal consultations
with various Aboriginal groups.
- INAC (Indian and Northern Affairs
Berries such as huckleberries, blueberries,
wild cranberries, and saskatoon berries were placed on mats to dry in
the sun for several days. Canvas is more commonly used now for drying
berries. When the berries are hard and dry, they may be stored in a cool,
dry place for winter use. To use dried berries:
soak the berries overnight in fresh water
boil for a few minutes
serve with sugar
- North Thompson Indian Band