A staggering number of students attended the Ninth Annual Honoring Native Foodways Festival at the UC Annex, as well as celebrating National Native American Heritage Month.
The festival gave students a taste of traditional Native American food which was provided and served entirely by volunteers.
From turnip soup to collard greens, to two or three different sweet potato dishes, there was a large variety of foods to choose from.
The selection was cooked fresh, and the only canning was of delicious jams and chow-chow.
Many students commented on how comforting and “homey” the food was, and some made second and third trips for another plate.
At the beginning of the event, a speech was given that emphasized the importance of garden to table cooking.
There was even a prayer given and a song, sung in Lakota that translated to, “Thank God for this food, thank grandfather for this food.”
Among the volunteers was Lawrence Locklear, a professor in the Southeast American Indian Studies Program. He described the importance the festival has in the community.
“It’s purpose is to celebrate American Indian foods; to celebrate the variety of foods and how to prepare them,” Locklear said.
Locklear emphasized that the event was a way to show how traditional Lumbee foods can be prepared in a healthier way.
“It was started by the department of American Indian Studies, he said.
“Then we reached out to other faculty, staff and students, and asked them to volunteer to serve food, as well as bring food.”
We were also able to talk to Sarah Higginbotham, a junior, who explained that her grandmother is a Lumbee Indian, but because her grandmother lives in Washington D.C., she rarely visits.
“I was curious about foods that maybe she would frequently eat, you know, culture wise, because I don’t get to see her much,” Higginbotham said.
When commenting on the food, Higginbotham described it as “very southern,” and said, “I think I tried at least three different kinds of collards and so many sweet potatoes! I’m so full!”
If you missed the Honoring Native Foodways festival this year, then you’ll have to wait until next time. The festival is held each year in November.