Indigenous Trade Routes
I’ve been thinking about trade routes a lot these days. I imagine that at some point our ancestors thought the same thing—“I have abalone shells, you have wild rice, let’s do a trade.” Just last week on Native America Calling, they were talking about trade routes and how quinoa could make the journey thousands of miles north, just how truly extensive our routes were, and how they were eventually exploited by colonizers.
One of the things I’m hoping to accomplish with Ákih Sára is to virtually open up these old trade routes, and make it easier for us to connect with each other, and share our traditional foods and goods. Because I’ve been a food writer for so long, I’m familiar with a lot of ingredients, the way our food is grown, raised, processed, shipped, and prepared. I’m interested in finding a way we can network between our tribes, sunchokes for pinons, in a sustainable, traditional, economical way. A true “trade route.” You pay your way and you trade your way. And some of these ingredients may be unfamiliar to a lot of people. I was talking to a Hupa friend, Meagan Baldy and she said that she didn’t even know what the heck to do with kale when she was first introduced and I think that’s where I can come in as well. I can help show you how to use them, and find Native experts from tribes that used them as a staple food and share with you their advice and stories all in one place. If you have questions about ingredients, how to prepare, gather, or preserve, please don’t hesitate to reach out. If I don’t know the answer, I will find someone who does and connect you the way you would be connected through a market hub along a traditional trade route.