Preserving Culture Through Traditional Food Programs
Understanding and practicing food traditions is essential to preserving Tribes’ cultures. Since time immemorial, Tribes throughout what is now Washington state have relied on berries, plants, roots, salmon, shellfish and wild game for food, health and cultural and spiritual practices. Several Tribes have introduced programs to promote health, sustainability, food sovereignty and cultural preservation by strengthening tribal members’ connection to traditional foods and food practices. Here’s a glimpse at a few such programs:
Jamestown S’Klallam Traditional Foods and Culture Program
The Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe’s Traditional Foods and Culture Program offers experiential learning opportunities based on S’Klallam culture and traditions of healthy eating, physical activity and seasonal cultural practices. Using traditional learning styles, tribal members learn from Elders and cultural knowledge keepers and participate in traditional physical activity and healthy eating activities. Groups learn about harvesting and processing foods and the cultural and medicinal uses of plants, bark, and roots.The program recently won the North Olympic Land Trust’s 23rd annual nəxʷsƛ̕əy̕əkʷáʔnəŋ of the Year Award for its innovative and culturally based project. [This year, the Land Trust is using “nəxʷsƛ̕əy̕əkʷáʔnəŋ” (gatherer of food in the Klallam language) in place of “farmer”.]
Learn more about the Jamestown S’Klallam Traditional Foods and Culture Program.