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March 4: Teachings of Our Elders - Patricia Christensen on Traditional Foods

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North Dakota Native American Essential Understanding number one is about sacred relatives. It states, native people practice a deep interconnectedness with the land, the resources, the water, all living things and all human beings. Land stewardship, respect for all two-legged, four-legged, winged, crawlers and swimmers, and a strong belief in the sacredness of all human beings are key elements of our spirituality.

In this episode of Dakota Datebook, we'll listen to Patricia Christensen, enrolled member of the Spirit Lake Dakota Nation, in part two of her interview concerning traditional foods.

Patricia Christensen:

We have, my grandma taught me how to can our wild berries, Juneberries and plums. And I got chokecherries right now. I make wožapi. There you don't use the seed, you use the hanjpi, you know, the juice. So I have that, we have that in the winter. And a lot of it's dried. A lot of it is dried.

My grandma said too, when they would travel, our people, they would carry that with them all the time because they traveled. And then when it was time to have fresh meat and they went out and hunted when they camped and stuff. My grandma said too, she said when they were going down the river in Minnesota, that's where they were camping. That's before that war. And hear, I think it was a boat coming down the river. And here they start shooting at them because they're seeing them there and probably thought they were wild or something. But they ended up dying anyway. So when they went soon to that boat, they had a bunch of bags of yellow rocks. So they took those yellow rocks and they buried them right alongside the shore because they didn't know what they were. But they thought if they got caught, they're going to have that and they'll kill them too.

If you'd like to learn more about the North Dakota Native American essential understandings, and to listen to more Indigenous elder interviews, visit teachingsofourelders.org.

Dakota Datebook is made in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, and funded by Humanities North Dakota, a nonprofit, independent state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in the program do not necessarily reflect those of Humanities North Dakota or the National Endowment for the Humanities.