Shirley Brozzo (Multicultural Education and Resource Center) was one of the featured speakers at Ojibwa Community Library’s Literacy Night. She read two pieces, “Mama’s Big Win,” and “Goin’ for Commods.” Also featured were other members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, along with instructors and students from Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College, where the event was held.
April Lindala (Center for Native American Studies) was recently invited to perform two traditional Anishinaabe songs for the 36th Organization for the Study of Communication, Language and Gender (OSCLG) conference’s annual awards banquet at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.
In addition to the performance, Lindala presented a conference paper entitled “Tragic Hands Reach for Tragic Food: Positioning Native Women to Cook Fry Bread and Forget.” She discussed how the removal of Native peoples from their traditional homelands caused significant communal detachment, specifically women from food sources. During this displacement, colonizers introduced ingredients that led to the creation of fry bread. Today fry bread is embraced as a necessity at ceremonial and communal feasting, reshaping the already complex identity of what it means to be a Native in modern society. Indigenous food movements—individuals and groups attempting to re-learn and eat a healthier diet of indigenous foods and ingredients—have been quietly sprouting up throughout the U.S. and Canada. Lindala took part in the year-long Decolonizing Diet Project at NMU. She reevaluated multiple Native films that have purposefully positioned Native women cooking fry bread. Such positioning reinforces the celebratory status of fry bread within the Native community, yet circumvents decolonizing movements towards indigenous food sovereignty. Lindala will present an expanded version of this presentation on Wednesday, November 13 as part of the Native American Heritage Month events at Michigan Technological University.