November, 2023
By Derek Nicholas (Leadership Team, Wiisinig LLC & Division of Indian Work)


Participating in MFJN has been uplifting, our team consists of like-minded people who are all doing work within the food systems. Attending the monthly meanings is always inspiring as I get to hear what we are all working on. My favorite thing about MFJN this year was being able to host the social gastronomy movement. I had the great honor to present to our guests over the welcoming dinner and attend a few of the site visits with them as well. During this time I got to make meaningful relationships with them in order to continue collaboration. I will be visiting one of the SGM folks in Guatemala next month, December 2023.

Having the support of MFJN has allowed me to advance my food work within the community. With the stipend I took a couple of elders up to Bad River, Red Cliff, and Madeline Island. During this time we were harvesting clay, plants, and sharing stories. Upon my return I shared the clay with the youth program from the Division of Indian Work. I shared stories about the clay, how clay was used amongst our tribal communities, and how clay is used by the tribal folks I met in East Africa. I then taught the kids how to make smudge bowls, beads, and plant emprints with the clay. During this lesson I incorporated my native language Anishinaabemowin and taught those doing plant emprints how to harvest plants in a traditional way. I am thankful to be a part of this life long memory the youth will carry with them due to the generosity of MFJN.

Derek Nichols gathers with youth under a tree to share recently harvested clay and wisdom

Derek shares freshly harvested clay and wisdom with indigenous youth.


One 2023 highlight:

Indigenous Food Feast!! Hope Flanagan and Derek Nicholas hosted a evening for the young ones at the Division of Indian Work. The goal was to get them familiar with our traditional foods. We had over 30 different native foods for them to process, cook, and taste.
Youth get to know a beaver!


Here is a list of what the youth cooked up:
Wild Turkey
Ruffed Gr
Brown Trout
Snapping Turtle Liver
Wild Plums
Red Hairy Skunk Currants
Aronia Berries
Saskatoon Berries
Mountian Ash Berries
Arrowhead Roots
Lotus Seed
Ground Nuts
Black Walnut
Arikara Yellow Beans
Blue Corn Mush
Piñon/Cedar/Douglas Smoked Salt
Staghorn & Smooth Sumac
Maple Sugar/Maple Syrup
Red Cedar/Sweet Fern/Sumac Tea

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