Indigenous Peoples’ Day Meal Plan

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The Very First.

Stephanie here from Team Dirty. One thing I love about my job is having the opportunity to dive into the history and cultural context of some of our more special plans and compile that information for Lyndsey to relate to you. 

This week, we’re doing things a little differently, and I’m coming to you directly.  

#IndigenousPeoplesDay is a first in Dirtyland. Recipe Wizards Tamie and Jen collaborated to bring you this beautiful plan to celebrate the Indigenous peoples of America with simple and delicious meals that feature traditional ingredients and flavor. 

Indigenous Peoples’ Day, falling on October 11 this year, is a relatively new holiday in the U.S., first appearing in 1991. Although it’s not yet a nationally recognized holiday, the list of cities and states that officially celebrate it grows every year. But what is it, and why do we need it?

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a time set aside to acknowledge and commemorate the contributions and history of Indigenous people.

It’s a small step in pursuing a more holistic and comprehensive understanding of the history of America and the people who have lived here for thousands of years.

We cannot do justice to the rich and deeply diverse history of Native American, First Nations, Polynesian, Inuit, and Yupik cultures of the Americas here, but it’s important to talk about and acknowledge what we can. 

In the centuries before European contact, Indigenous people lived in every corner of the Americas, from the northernmost tip of what is now Canada to the southernmost reaches of what is now Chile, and from the western islands of Hawaii to the far eastern shores of what is now the Caribbean. There were (and are) hundreds of individual cultures. Scientists estimate that the pre-Columbian population of Indigenous people in the Americas was as high as 60 million people. In comparison, it’s estimated that Europe’s population was between 70–88 million at the time of contact.

By the early 1600s, after the onset of European colonization, roughly 90% of Indigenous people in the Americas had died, about 56 million people. This was approximately ten percent of the world’s population at the time, and it’s known today as the Great Dying. These numbers are staggering. It’s almost impossible to comprehend the scope of the Great Dying’s impact on Indigenous cultures. Its repercussions continue to reverberate today.

Those 56 million died primarily because of European diseases like measles, smallpox, and influenza. Native people had never encountered these diseases before and had no resistance to them. Although the deadly spread of disease was mostly unintentional, great numbers of Indigenous people were also killed by Europeans through warfare and enslavement; all made easier by the ravagings of multiple epidemics on Native populations. Indigenous people continued to face war, violence, hostility, broken promises, and cultural assassination through forced relocations and assimilation in the centuries that followed.

While this stark and bitter part of American history is more widely known and taught than it used to be, one often overlooked facet of the Native American story is the perseverance and vitality of Indigenous people today.

There are currently 574 federally recognized Indigenous nations residing within America today. These nations are working to reclaim and preserve aspects of their culture, traditions, and languages that have suffered in the last five centuries. Furthermore, Indigenous people are still fighting policies, laws, and prejudices that threaten their continued survival, both cultural and physical.

There’s an ongoing movement to raise the voices of Indigenous peoples and their sovereign nations, both in local communities and in the eyes of the U.S. government, which brings us back to Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Indigenous Peoples’ Day is celebrated on the second Monday in October, the same as Columbus Day (recognizing Italian navigator and colonizer Christopher Columbus).

But rather than celebrating one of the first European encounters with the Americas, let us turn instead to the first people of these continents.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day is a call to look closer at this land’s history and remember the casualties of colonialism and westward expansion. It’s also a chance to celebrate the endurance and beauty of all contemporary Native cultures and raise awareness of their continued struggle.

This week’s Meal Plan is a whole food plant based nod of acknowledgment and appreciation for Indigenous peoples and their cultures. We create plans like these as invitations to experience a small part of our world’s beautiful diversity and to show support and solidarity for those whose experiences differ from ours. 

In that spirit, we hope that you’ll check out the resources below where you can learn more, get involved, and find ideas for celebrating this most special holiday.

Our Meal Plan tester, Chazz, batched this week’s Gourmet plan in 3½ hours. If you’re looking for less time in the kitchen, check out this week’s Simple Plan.

If you’re ready to celebrate Indigenous peoples and get cooking, meet us in your classroom and check it out.

#Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Gourmet Plant Based Menu

Poyha Bean & Cornmeal Loaf with Wojapi and Corn & Lima Bean Salad
Roasted Portobello Steak & Watercress Salad with Toasted Cornbread Crumbles
Three Sisters Mole Stew and Carrot Cornbread Muffins
Savory Wild Rice-stuffed Peppers with Blistered Tomato Sauce
Herb Roasted Butternut Squash & Hominy Harvest Bowl
Bonus: Spiced Skillet Apples with Toasted Pecans

#Simple Indigenous Peoples’ Day

Plant Based & Gluten Free Menu

Our Simple Meal Plans are inspired by our Gourmet Meal Plans. They are gluten-free and quicker to batch. #SimpleIndigenousPeoplesDay is still tasty and loaded with ALL the flavors, but with minimal effort. Both the Simple and the Gourmet plans are loaded up in the classroom waiting for you to cook and NOM!

  • Herb Roasted Butternut Squash & Kale Bowl
  • Poyha Bean & Cornmeal Loaf with Wojapi and Green Beans
  • Hearty Three Sisters Mole Stew
  • Mixed Greens & Beans Salad with Orange Tahini Dressing
  • Loaded Harvest Wraps

Stephanie from Team Dirty

P.S. We can’t wait to see your pictures of this special plan. When you share, be sure to tag #IndigenousPeoplesDay #PFMP (Plant Fueled Meal Plans) in our private Facebook group and / or Instagram so we can see your creations!

“Wowza! Check this out! I went back to eating all the plants and none of everything else on August 1st to fuel my cells with everything they need, want, and deserve; 20ish days later, my blood pressure is the best it’s been in a looooong time!”

Amanda M.

Resources

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