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  • The Fuss Over Fry Bread at Indian Market

    by Claire Quimby, Eiteljorg festivals and markets intern | May 15, 2013

    “It’s one in the morning, and I’m awake, thinking about frybread…”
    – from Frybread Dreams, a poem by Richard Walker

    Frybread picture from - mountainhomequilts.blogspot.com

    If you’ve ever been to any Native American event, you’re probably familiar with fry bread. If you’ve never tasted it, you are truly missing out. Fry bread is just what its name implies… dough that is fried in oil to create a puffy, delicious bread. Fry bread can be a sweet treat or the foundation of “Indian tacos,” topped with ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and salsa/chile.

    Images from chibbqking.blogspot.com and cookingclassy.com

     

    Every year at Indian Market and Festival, people happily wait in line at the Indian taco truck (rain or shine) for their fry bread fix. It’s so popular; the Eiteljorg staff looks forward to it each year as one of the highlights of the whole event.

    people wait in line at indian market for their frybread fix!

    Most of us agree that fry bread is super tasty. But the fuss over fry bread isn’t just about taste. It’s about history, tradition, survival and love.

    According to Frybread by Jen Miller (Smithsonian Magazine, July 2008), the origins of fry bread date back to 1864 and the Long Walk of the Diné (Navajo), when the U.S. government forcibly relocated thousands of Native Americans from their lands in Arizona to New Mexico. Removed from their traditional sources of food, the Diné had to rely on meager government rations. Many died of starvation. Fry bread was a food of survival, created from a few simple ingredients that the Diné had access to: flour, lard, baking powder, salt, water and powdered milk. For many Native Americans fry bread is a reminder of the conditions their ancestors endured, and how they created something from nothing to live another day.

    Many foods evoke strong feelings and memories, but you would be hard-pressed to find a better example than fry bread. Fry bread fans have created facebook pages, websites, poems, stories and cooking competitions. Most agree that love is a critical ingredient. How else would you turn rations and suffering into a food of survival and celebration?

    Fry bread is loved, but it has also been criticized. In an article in Indian Country Today, Suzan Shown Harjo railed against fry bread for the sorrowful history it represents, for its high calorie count, and for being a poor substitution for many other traditional Native American breads. Despite calories and history, however, Native America is still a strong supporter of fry bread, mockumentary film dedicated to it.

    Either in spite of its difficult history or because of it, the lines in front of the fry bread truck, during the Eiteljorg's Indian Market & Festival June 22 and 23, will continue to form this summer. No Native American gathering would be the same without it. 

    2013 indian market flyer


    Claire Quimby
    Eiteljorg festival and markets intern

    Go comment!




  • Hoop Dancing Champion Heads to Eiteljorg Indian Market & Festival

    by Jaq Nigg, Eiteljorg festivals and markets manager | May 01, 2013

    As the Eiteljorg’s festival and markets manager, each year I plan what I hope will be an exciting entertainment schedule for Indian Market and Festival. My goal is to fill the stage with mesmerizing, educational, straight-up fun performances. This year will not disappoint! We’re excited to bring five-time world champion hoop dancer Tony Duncan (Apache/Arikara/Hidatsa) to make his Indian Market debut June 22 and 23!

    Duncan told Indian Country newspaper, he believes people should “Dream big. Whatever it is you love to do, do that. Practice, practice, practice!”

    So, you might be wondering, what is hoop dancing?
    In hoop dancing, dancers use colorful hoops and their bodies to tell stories, creating shapes with the hoops – for example, animals, flowers and eagles. But trying to describe it with words doesn’t work. You have to see it to really appreciate the artistry and athleticism that go into being a hoop dancer.

    Click for video

    Tony embodies the idea of tradition playing an important role in contemporary life. Traditional hoop dance was ceremonial and has evolved into a storytelling art. After winning his fifth world championship, Tony was approached by Canadian recording artist Nelly Furtado about performing in the video for “Big Hoops (Bigger the Better). He jumped at the chance to combine traditional dance with contemporary dance music. He loved the experience and joined Nelly on a world tour and on mainstream stages like the Billboard Music Awards and The Tonight Show.

    Click for video

    For Tony, hoop dancing is special. Here's what he told Indian Country about what hoop dancing has meant to him:  “It's very inviting—a hoop is laying there and you just want to pick it up and start spinning it and jump through it. My father taught me when I was 5 years old, and since then I've just loved dancing. The hoop teaches us many things, primarily, having respect for all of life and life’s creations. It teaches us about the different cycles of life, the changing seasons upon Mother Earth, as well as the seasons of our own lives. All of life dances in a circle and we’re all connected. It’s a very exciting yet spiritual dance, there's nothing else like it.”

    Please visit Power 2 Give to find out how you can help bring Tony Duncan and his dance group to Indian Market and Festival.

    Over the years, the Indian Market & Festival stage has been graced by a diverse mix of traditional and contemporary representations of Native cultures: flutes, drums, electric guitars and didgeridoos; stories about raven, coyote and other animal teachers; stories about cell phones, airplanes and modern life; songs in English, Lakota, Navajo, Tsimshian and Inuit; traditional dancers with superman tattoos; and contemporary singers wearing regalia. This mixture of past and present is evidence of vibrant Native cultures and part of what makes Indian Market such a great event. 

    We hope to see you June 22 and 23! Be sure to catch Tony Duncan's performance. And, if you've ever seen hoop dancing, tell us about your experience in our comments section!




    Jaq Nigg
    Eiteljorg festivals and markets manager 

     

    2 Comments
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