Revitalizing Pre-Colonial Indigenous Food Systems with Chef Sean Sherman
New Food OrderFebruary 21, 2023x
00:45:0261.86 MB

Revitalizing Pre-Colonial Indigenous Food Systems with Chef Sean Sherman

Do we need to design a US food system without European influences? What can we learn from indigenous peoples to ensure food sovereignty and reverse our climate crisis? 

This week, we discuss this and more with Oglala Lakota Sioux chef, entrepreneur, author, and speaker Sean Sherman. Sean is the founder of "The Sioux Chef," a catering company and food education business committed to revitalizing and reclaiming Native American cuisine. His main culinary focus has been on bringing indigenous food systems like land stewardship and wild food usage to a modern culinary context. His restaurant Owamni in Minneapolis specializes in dishes containing only ingredients present in North America prior to European colonization. In 2022, Owamni won the James Beard Foundation Award for best new restaurant." In 2017, he co-authored the cookbook The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen. Through his nonprofit NATIFS, he also co-founded the Indigenous Food Lab, a professional Indigenous kitchen and training center dedicated to preserving Indigenous food education. He personally received the James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in 2019 and the James Beard Foundation Award for Best American Cookbook in 2017. 

We discuss:

  • Colonialism's impact on indigenous cultures and foodways
  • Creating a replicable Indigenous Food Lab model, which includes entrepreneurial support, production and co-packing capacity, media, education, and marketplaces
  • Using food as a platform to empower and uplift indigenous peoples and preserve indigenous culture and wisdom 
  • How to indigenize and decolonize for profit businesses
  • Using restaurants, CPG products, marketplaces, and media as a way to educate people about indigenous culture and wisdom
  • What we can learn from indigenous peoples around the globe who have a blueprint for living sustainably
  • Why we need to rebuild community-based food systems to ensure food sovereignty and to address the challenges created by our climate crisis
  • The unique advantage tribal communities in the US have to be able to rewrite some of their laws irrespective of state law, and how to utilize this to improve the local food system

Show Notes

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Thank you to Foodshot Global & New Hope Network for sponsoring the series.

And a huge thank you to everyone who helped us bring this podcast to life: 

Production: Cam Gray, Cofruition

Audio Editing: Tevin Sudi

Original Music: Rodrigo Barbera 

Art: Lola Nankin

Project Management: Patrick Carter