0:00 Why not more Native American restaurants?
4:48 True wild rice, elk, bison, and Owamni’s menu
9:27 "Control the food, control the people”—Henry Kissinger
13:00 Not just food, but knowledge of food
16:40 Engaging with modern capitalism to preserve ancient wisdom
25:22 Is there support in the Native American community?
27:35 "Be aware of the land."
Why aren’t there more Native American restaurants around the country? When you visit a big city, even a small city, you are treated to a wide variety of cuisines in America: Italian, Chinese, French, German, Thai. When was the last time you had Native American cuisine?
Sean Sherman, called the Sioux Chef, is the owner of the Owamni restaurant in Minneapolis. On their menu, you will find food made only from ingredients available in America before Columbus. Instead of chicken, pork, and dairy, we see wild rice, rabbit, and bison. Starters (Wathotho) include Wild Mushroom Chowder and Sweet Potato Soup. For a main (Waksika Thanka), how about Seaweed Seabass or a Ribeye of Smoked Bison? The Sioux Chef calls it “decolonialized food.” In 2022, Owamni won the James Beard Award for best new restaurant in the U.S., and recently Sean won the Julia Child Award for 2023.
Sean joins us today to share the history of Native American cuisine, his path to creating Owamni, and his vision for an expanded Native food culture.
We all know the sad story of why there aren’t more Native American restaurants. But in asking this question anew, Sean is not only querying history but making a statement. He is reimagining a future where Americans can connect and perhaps heal with our history while developing a new understanding of the land around us and its gifts all through the great joy of food.
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