A Native American Thanksgiving
Harvests feasts have an ancient tradition in the Americas that long predate the era when our ancestors allowed starving refugees and involuntary passengers from the Old World to settle here. The newcomers were so impressed by the farming skills of our ancestors that they created one of North America’s most important holidays to honor them . . . Thanksgiving!
Your family can also honor the culinary gifts that the indigenous peoples of the Americas gave all humanity by planning “An All American Thanksgiving.” Only serve dishes that originated in the Americas!
It’s going to be tough . . . not because of the limited choices, but because there is so much to choose from. Throughout the world, American vegetables predominate on the dinner table. The Muskogeans also gave the world deep fried, corn meal battered, poultry and fish that’s now called “Southern Fried.” (They used hickory nut oil with zero cholesterol.) Most all indigenous Americans liked to barbecue meats.
Smoked turkey, baked turkey, fried turkey
Fried duck, baked wild duck, roasted wild duck
Smoked wild goose, baked wild goose, roasted wild goose
Smoked venison, roasted venison
Smoked buffalo, grilled buffalo
Roasted elk, smoked elk
Smoked fish, barbecued fish, fried fish, baked fish
Roasted bear, smoked bear, barbecued bear
Deep fried turtle or frog legs
Fried quail, smoked quail
Baked possum with sweet potatoes*
*It is something like roast pork.
Corn bread, corn on the cob, niblet corn, creamed corn, hominy corn, grits, sofke, hush puppies, corn flat cakes, hasty pudding, corn soup, tamales, tortillas, popcorn
Northern wild rice, Southern wild rice
Ramps (onion relative)
Andean purple potatoes
Jerusalem artichoke (Indian potatoes)
Ramps (member of onion family)
Yellow crookneck squash
Calusa squash (sweet)
Calabaza squash (sweet)
Butternuts (White Walnut)
Live Oak acorns
*Most commercial strawberries in the world are hybrids created from the native strawberry of the Southeast, which was grown by American Indians.
Tuna Cactus fruit
Getting hungry? Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends around the Americas . . . even if your country doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving.
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Richard Thornton is a professional architect, city planner, author and museum exhibit designer-builder. He is today considered one of the nation’s leading experts on the Southeastern Indians. However, that was not always the case. While at Georgia Tech Richard was the first winner of the Barrett Fellowship, which enabled him to study Mesoamerican architecture and culture in Mexico under the auspices of the Institutio Nacional de Antropoligia e Historia. Dr. Roman Piňa-Chan, the famous archaeologist and director of the Museo Nacional de Antropologia, was his fellowship coordinator. For decades afterward, he lectured at universities and professional societies around the Southeast on Mesoamerican architecture, while knowing very little about his own Creek heritage. Then he was hired to carry out projects for the Muscogee-Creek Nation in Oklahoma. The rest is history.Richard is the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the KVWETV (Coweta) Creek Tribe and a member of the Perdido Bay Creek Tribe. In 2009 he was the architect for Oklahoma’s Trail of Tears Memorial at Council Oak Park in Tulsa. He is the president of the Apalache Foundation, which is sponsoring research into the advanced indigenous societies of the Lower Southeast.
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