Students taste Native American dishes, culture at annual food taster


Students choose different kinds of food to sample during a Native American heritage month food taster event on Nov. 7, 2016 in the Bovee University Center. 

Hannah Bartol said wants to show off her culture to the students at Central Michigan University. The Hannahville Indian Community junior said part of her culture is food and dancing.

Students were able to experience that culture on Monday night.

The annual Native American Heritage Month Food Taster was held in the Bovee University Center Terrace Rooms and Rotunda. The event is a collaboration between the North American Indigenous Student Organization (NAISO) and the Zeta Phi Beta sorority on campus.

Bartol is a general member of NAISO and a student assistant in the Office of Native American Studies. A member of the Hannahville Potawatomi tribe, Bartol had a large role in planning the event, which she thought was successful.

“We want to showcase to other students how we do things and how we bring people together in any event," Bartol said.

Some items on the menu included an indian taco bar, roasted squash, chicken and wild rice soup, bannock and pumpkin pudding.

The latter was Carson City senior Jonabel Durga's favorite.

"I went in thinking it was going to be pumpkin spice, but it was a lot more than that," she said. "It tasted almost like applesauce but in a better way.”

Durga said she hasn't had Native American food since fourth grade. Mount Pleasant senior Matthew Poindexter said he would go to the annual spring CMU Pow wows and Monday's event was reminiscent of that.

“Any time you go to a food taster, it’s good food, good music (and) good people," Poindexter said. "(You get to) sit down and relax after classes.”

Pow wow dancers performed during the event as entertainment for the students. The event ended with attendees galloping through the Rotunda during a friendship dance.

“It was really nice to have the entire whole room interact and get in a circle together," Durga said. "That moment was a little bit powerful (and) made us all connect for one moment."

Bartol said she believes Monday's event was the biggest turnout it has ever had. Zeta Phi Beta, who collaborated the event, worked to collect toiletries for the Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center in Saginaw.

Those attending the food taster were asked to bring non-perishable food items or toiletries for those in Standing Rock, North Dakota affected by the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Bartol said the donations helped raise awareness and gave to a good cause.

“They need some supplies to kind of keep themselves going and to fight the Dakota Access Pipeline," she said.


About Evan Sasiela

Evan Sasiela is the University Editor at Central Michigan Life and a senior at Central Michigan ...

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