March 31st, 2018
Native Americans love to share their food with guests. I never thought that there would be a chance of me gaining weight while participating in the Longest Walk, but it might happen. Every meal is a feast. I’m not sure why that is. It seems like the Indians count the number of guests, and then they cook for double that population. Perhaps, it is because they know what is like to be hungry, and they want to make sure nobody else has that experience.
I am not a fussy eater. I eat whatever is placed in front of me. It seems rude to me to refuse food of any kind. I understand that some people have particular dietary requirements. I don’t. I am basically omnivorous.
Last night the folks here at the Fort Belknap reservation had a potluck meal for us. There was buffalo meat in a variety of forms. I tried the tongue and the liver with onions. Somebody brought in a mountain of fry bread. Fry bread is excellent; it is kind of like eating an unsweetened doughnut. There were different soups. There were trays of boiled potatoes with oníons and carrots. There was roast turkey. We drank water or coffee with the food.
As far as I can see, the Indians don’t do salads. Actually, except for the potatoes, there were no vegetables on the table last night. I have not been to enough reservations to generalize, but greens do not seem to be priority in the Native American diet.
Tony was telling me a funny story about a young man from New York who was part of the walk while I was gone. This guy would always ask if the meal being served was vegan. It never was. If a person shares a meal with Native Americans, it is almost guaranteed that meat or dairy will be part of the menu. That’s just how it is.
It goes back to the culture. These people have traditionally been hunters and fishermen. They hunt deer and elk for food. They eat buffalo in this part of America. When we were in the Pacific Northwest, the people ate salmon. It’s who they are.