Welcome to SFIM '23
Peek inside our Official Guide

Indigenous Food

Chef Spotlight: Tiffany Deer


Tiffany Wahsontiiostha Deer is a professional chef with a love of food and flavor, and a passion for cooking healthy and easy to prepare meals at home.
“In my mind, there are two separate baskets of Native food, or Mohawk food. One basket would be filled with our traditional food, which to me is what I grew up with—it’s meat pie, chicken and dumplings, the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin pie, turkey. When somebody says they’re having a wedding or an anniversary or a baby shower, “Oh, what are you serving?” “Oh, traditional,” you know automatically that that’s your lineup, that’s what you have to look forward to. That’s incredible, it’s delicious, but the other basket would be traditional food of our people, not what we’re consuming today but what we used to consume yesteryear, and that would be the Hubbard squash, the three sisters—corn, beans and squash—a lot of game…”
“..It’s the connection to our Mother Earth. We’ve grown it, and then what it gives us is like a gift from the Creator, and if you keep that in mind, you have that bond with the food that is more than just flavor…” Read More (from ‘A Very Mohawk Thanksgiving’ Roads & Kingdoms)





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A Very Mohawk Thanksgiving


Native Eatery Spotlight: Indigikitchen


Indigikitchen, a portmanteau of Indigenous, digital, and kitchen, is an online cooking show dedicated to re-indigenizing our diets using digital media. Using foods native to their Americas, Indigikitchen gives viewers the important tools they need to find and prepare food on their own reservations. Beyond that, it strengthens the ties to our cultures and reminds us of the inherent worth of our identities while fueling our physical bodies. Read More…


Mariah Gladstone (Blackfeet, Cherokee) grew up in Northwest Montana. She graduated from Columbia University with a degree in Environmental Engineering and returned home where she developed Indigikitchen. Read More…


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Indigikitchen Website
Find Indigikitchen on Facebook
Contact Indigikitchen: indigikitchen@gmail.com


Education & History: KCET Gathering Medicine

Indigenous peoples in California relied on traditional gathering to provide for all of their food and medicinal needs. California’s landscapes produce hundreds of indigenous plant species that have been used thousands of years prior to European contact. And many of these plants and their preparations as medicine informed modern pharmacopeia, most notably aspirin, which is derived from the bark of the willow tree. Native herbalism continues to be relevant today. There is a resurgence of traditional medicinal practices in Native communities and a growing interest in this knowledge in popular culture. In this video, we explore how Native herbalism is practiced today and how a holistic approach to health and the environment can inform healthy living.



Eating Well: Indigenous Food Harvesting Techniques Help Preserve the Land for Future Generations

 Ancestral Guard is an indigenous organizing network teaching traditional hunting, gathering and preparation of local foods. Their hope is that the indigenous tribes will build networks that revolve around the land and its resources to help heal the land and preserve some traditional ways of life for tribes in northern California. From sustainably harvesting mussels and fish, cooking for their community and teaching their youth about native plants, they are helping their local traditions live on.


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Weaving Spotlight: KCET Weaving Community

KCET Weaving Community: How Native Peoples are Rediscovering Their Basketry Traditions


Basketry has been described as the pinnacle of Californian indigenous culture. But the
craftsmanship necessary to make these works of art requires much more than weaving
techniques. It requires a deep and sustained relationship with the environment. For centuries
Native peoples tended the land and used a variety of methods to shape plants to suit their
basketry needs from pruning, weeding, and coppicing to the the cyclical use of controlled
burning. Today, many of these techniques have been lost or suppressed and the ability to access
traditional gathering locations has been impeded by urban development and the restrictions of
private property. In this video, we explore how traditional gathering is practiced today and how
Native peoples are rediscovering their basketry traditions in Southern California.

Cedar Basket Weaving With Brenda Crabtree

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Brenda Crabtree is the Director of Aboriginal Programs at Emily Carr University of Art + Design in Vancouver. She is a member of the Spuzzum Band and has both Nlaka’pamux and Sto:lo ancestry. Her art practice includes cedar and spruce root basketry, drum making, moose hair tufting and beadwork.

Her work is continually shifting between traditional and contemporary representation and re-interpretation. She creates objects using traditional materials and techniques…and often incorporates politically motivated text to combat historical amnesia.

URBAN ACCESS TO ABORIGINAL ART (URBAN ACCESS) began in 2014 and is a four-week intensive art and design program that blends studio instruction with cultural studies modules and field trips. Fifteen aboriginal participants are selected each summer to learn traditional forms of art: Carving, Drum Making, Cedar Basketry, Beadwork, Moose Hair Tufting, and Form Line design. The program includes cultural studies, visual communication, guest artist talks, and field trips to galleries and museums.



Art & Food: Sonya Kelliher-Combs


Sonya Kelliher-Combs was raised in the Northwest Alaska community of Nome. Her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree is from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and Master of Fine Arts is from Arizona State University. Through her mixed media painting and sculpture, Kelliher-Combs offers a chronicle of the ongoing struggle for self-definition and identity in the Alaskan context. Her combination of shared iconography with intensely personal imagery demonstrates the generative power that each vocabulary has over the other. READ MORE…




“I’m inspired by the relationship of our ancestors to their environment — how they used skin, fur and membrane in material culture. The subjects of my work are patterns of history, family, and culture…” Read More




Education & History: Decolonizing the Diet

KCET Presents: Decolonizing the Diet


California — a biodiversity hotspot — provides an abundance of plants for both food and medicine. To Native peoples across the state, gathering locations were like supermarkets today. They provided all the resources necessary to survive. These native plants are relevant today as they reinforce cultural continuity for California’s Native peoples and provide healthy, drought-tolerant alternatives to the processed foods typically found in Western diets. In contemporary California, movements such as “eat local” and scientists’ “discovery” of the health benefits inherent in chia and sage, for instance, have led to an increasing awareness and desire to purchase indigenous foods. But while more and more people are recognizing the benefits of California’s indigenous plants, the scale of the commercial food industry often prohibits access to local indigenous communities. In this video, we visit members of the Chia Cafe Collective, a group working in Southern California to revive Native food practices and raise awareness about the precarity of these important cultural resources.

Art & Food: Cara Romero, The Last Indian Market


Cara Romero (b. 1977, Inglewood, CA) is a contemporary fine art photographer. An enrolled citizen of the Chemehuevi Indian Tribe, Romero was raised between contrasting settings: the rural Chemehuevi reservation in Mojave Desert, CA and the urban sprawl of Houston, TX. Romero’s identity informs her photography, a blend of fine art and editorial photography, shaped by years of study and a visceral approach to representing Indigenous and non-Indigenous cultural memory, collective history, and lived experiences from a Native American female perspective.  READ MORE…

As an Indigenous photographer, I embrace photography as my tool to resist Eurocentric narratives and as a means for opening audiences’ perspectives to the fascinating diversity of living Indigenous peoples. My approach fuses time-honored and culturally specific symbols with 21st-century ideas. This strategy reinforces the ways we exist as contemporary Native Americans, all the while affirming that Indigenous culture is continually evolving and imminently permanent. READ MORE…


                       Awards: 1st Place in Photography, Heard Museum

Collections: Autry Museum, Coe Foundation, Denver Art Museum, Tia, Tony Abeyta and Wheelright Museum


Discover more…

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Cara Romero WEBSITE
Find Cara Romero on FACEBOOK
Follow Cara Romero on INSTAGRAM

Art & Food: C Maxx Stevens, The Last Supper

C.Maxx Stevens is an Installation artist and Seminole/Mvskoke Nation from the Oklahoma Region. Her art is based on memories of family and culture expressed in three dimensional environments using materials, objects, and technology to build a visual narrative.

My artwork is based on memories of family and culture within a three dimensional environment through the use of materials, objects, and technology to build a visual narrative. For the past eight years I have been developing a series of installations based on the issue of diabetes in the native communities. “Last Supper,” a site-specific installation, is a commentary on how the food we are eating today is making a negative impact within our native communities, as diabetes has become an epidemic and we cannot continue to ignore the warnings. One out of every six native people will develop diabetes or be affected by the disease. Based on my family and tribal history this number seems to be low. While the native community is re-educating themselves and trying to change the way that we are eating we are also finding these changes to be double handed. Realistically this isn’t going to happen overnight due to the economics of many native families for many of the food we serve is part of our traditional meal that we are not going to change. Essentially the issue has become a dilemma.

Charlene Maxx StevensLast Supper, mixed media installation, 2011.
SE-94; IAIA Museum Purchase, 2012; Courtesy of the IAIA Museum of Contemporary Native Arts; Santa Fe; NM.
Photographer: Jason S. Ordaz





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C.Maxx Stevens Deeper Look