Rick describes the process of nixtamalizing corn to bring out its greatest nutritional value. Have one person or the group try this process with either limestone or wood ash.
Rick recalls the songs sung while pounding corn. Ceremonies, songs and stories accompanied all aspects of the food cycle – whether for growing, gathering, hunting or fishing. Do group research on songs that relate to food activities in your area, and practice it together.
In the hunting practices of the Haudenosaunee, nothing of the animal was wasted. If your group includes carnivores, prepare a meal (or two or three) from a whole chicken (or other animal). See how many different kinds of dishes you can make from one animal. Talk about how the modern supermarket robs us of this knowledge and experience.
Conversations in Cultural Fluency video created to accompany a series of lectures produce by Deyohaha:ge and Six Nations Polytechnic, with Thru the Red Door:
The Earth to Tables Legacies collaborator Rick Hill has created three videos of his power point presentations introduce us to the history, philosophy and food legacies of the Haudenosaunee, also known as the Iroquois Confederacy (French) or (in English) the Six Nations (Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, and Tuscarora). Watch the third video here:
The Haudenosaunee are “people of the Longhouse”, a way of living under one roof, a metaphor for life. Rick suggests the longhouse reflects the characteristics of the culture: its clan-based system, matrilineal descent, cooperation, respectfulness, and peacefulness.
Haudenosaunee villages remained sustainable by moving every few years in an economy based on hunting, gathering and cultivating through mound agriculture (exemplified by the three sisters). Rick shows us evidence of a tremendous biodiversity of corn, of beans, of squash, a diversity that has been lost in the industrial food system and in our diets.
This video offers very practical information about the planting, harvesting, and cooking of traditional Haudenosaunee food. We also see the centrality of gathering nutritious foods such as mushrooms, berries, nuts (and their essential oils).
Ultimately these tasks were shared, so that different families would bring different skills and foods to a cooperative living within the longhouse. Rick concludes that this should not be seen as a thing of the past, but rather as a way of life in the future.