Thousands of years before Christopher Columbus and his ships arrived in the Bahamas, the nomadic ancestors of modern Native Americans were living in North and South America. Scholars estimate that before Europeans discovered the Americas there were already 50 million people living on the land, with about 10 million of those settled in the area that is now the United States. The Native Americans in this region were essentially the first contributors to the establishment of the United States. Even though European settlers are often credited with establishing the structure that has built our current society, it is the Native Americans who were the original developers and, in many cases, teachers for the European explorers.
In 1990, President George H. W. Bush declared the month of November as National Native American Heritage Month to commemorate the people who first settled on our land and spread awareness of Native American culture and way of life.
The Valley Café is also eager to spread the Native American culture this November through our menu on Tuesday, November 19th. Like our local farmers, Native American culture has also traditionally felt a very close tie to the land. As a source of food and life, the earth and the soil are precious.
Traditional Native America cuisine contains the staple crops: corn, beans and squash (the “Three Sisters”, as we learned about earlier during the semester in our bean themed menu). Native Americans grew these three crops because of their interdependence on one another–beans grow up the stalk of the corn and squash grows at the base of the plants providing protection and support for the roots. You’ll notice these three ingredients (particularly corn) as dominant parts of Tuesday’s menu.
Embrace the Native American culture and celebrate Native American Heritage Month from 11:30 to 1:30 at the Valley Café!
(Picture courtesy of PBS)