Each waterhole has a hinterland lying within a six-mile radius which is regularly exploited for vegetable and animal foods. These areas are not territories in the zoological sense, since they are not defended against outsiders. Rather they constitute the resources that lie within a convenient walking distance of a waterhole. The camp is a self-sufficient sub sistence unit. The members move out each day to hunt and gather, and return in the evening to pool the collected foods in such a way that every person present receives an equitable share.
Another measure of nutritional adequacy is the average consumption of calories and proteins per person per day. The estimate for the Bushmen is based on observations of the weights of foods of known composition that were brought into Dobe camp on each day of the study period. The per-capita figure is obtained by dividing the total weight offoodstuffs by the total number of persons in the camp. These results are set out in detail elsewhere (Lee, 1969) and can only be summarized here. During the study period 410 pounds of meat were brought in by the hunters of the Dobe camp, for a daily share of nine ounces of meat per person. About 700 pounds of vegetable foods were gathered and consumed dur ing the same period. Table 5 sets out the calories and proteins available per capita in the !Kung Bushman dietary from meat, mongongo nuts, and other vegetable sources.
I have discussed how the !Kung Bushmen are able to manage on the scarce resources of their inhospitable environment. The essence of their successful strategy seems to be that while they depend primarily on the more stable and abundant food sources (vegetables in their case), they are nevertheless willing to devote considerable energy to the less reliable and more highly valued food sources such as medium and large mammals.
Importance of Animal Products
In their meat-eating habits, the Bushmen
show a similar selectivity. Of the 223 local
species of animals known and named by the
Bushmen, 54 species are classified as edible,
and of these only 17 species were hunted on a
regular basis. Only a handful of the dozens of edible species of small mammals, birds, reptiles, and insects that occur locally are regarded as food. Such animals as rodents, snakes, lizards, termites, and grasshoppers, which in the literature are included in the Bushman dietary ( Schapera, 1 930), are despised by the Bushmen of the Dobe area.
Listed in urder of their importance, the principal species in the diet are :
francolin (two species),
they are nevertheless willing to devote considerable energy to the less reliable and more highly valued food sources such as medium and large mammals.
Importance of Plants
Here all the edible plant species are arranged in classes according to the frequency with which they were observed to be eaten. It should be noted, that although there are some 85 species available, about 90 per cent of the vegetable diet by weight is drawn from only 23 species. In other words, 75 per cent of the listed species provide only 1 0 per cent of the food value.
Vegetable foods comprise from 60-80 per cent of the total diet by weight, and collecting involves two or three days of work per woman per week. The men also collect plants and small animals but their major contribution to the diet is the hunting of medium and large game. The men are conscientious but not particularly successful hunters; although men's and women's work input is roughly equivalent in terms of man-day of effort, the women provide two to three times as much food by weight as the men.
It is impossible to define "abundance" of re sources absolutely. However, one index of relative abundance is whether or not a popula tion exhausts all the food available from a given area. By this criterion, the habitat ofthe Dobe area Bushmen is abundant in naturally occur ring foods. By far the most important food is the Mongongo (mangetti) nut (Ricinodendron rautanenii Schinz) . Although tens of thousands of pounds ofthese nuts are harvested and eaten each year, thousands more rot on the ground each year for want of picking.
The mongongo nut, because ofits abundance and reliability, alone accounts for 50 per cent of the vegetable diet by weight. In this respect it resembles a cultivated staple crop such as maize or rice. Nutritionally it is even more re markable, for it contains five times the calories and ten times the proteins per cooked unit of the cereal crops. The average daily per capita consumption of 300 nuts yields about
1,260 calories and 56 grams of protein. This modest portion, weighing only about 7.5 ounces, contains the caloric equivalent o f 2 . 5 pounds o f cooked rice and the protein equiva lent of 14 ounces of lean beef (Vlatt and Merrill, 1963).
Furthermore the mongongo nut is drought resistant and it will still be abundant in the dry years when cultivated crops may fail. The extremely hard outer shell protects the inner kernel from rot and allows the nuts to be har vested for up to twelve months after they have fallen to the ground. A diet based on mongongo nuts is in fact more reliable than one based on cultivated foods, and it is not surprising, there fore, that when a Bushman was asked why he hadn't taken to agriculture he replied : "Why should we plant, when there are so many mongongo nuts in the world ?"
Apart from the mongongo, the Bushmen have available 84 other species of edible food plants, including 29 species of fruits, berries, and melons and 30 species of roots and bulbs. The existence of this variety allows for a wide range of alternatives in subsistence strategy. During the summer months the Bushmen have no problem other than to choose among the tastiest and most easily collected foods. Many species, which are quite edible but less attractive, are bypassed, so that gathering never exhausts all the available plant foods of an area. During the dry season the diet becomes much more eclectic and the many species of roots, bulbs, and edible resins make an important contribution. It is this broad base that provides an essential margin of safety during the end of the dry season when the mongongo nut forests are difficult to reach. In addition, it is likely that these rarely utilized species provide important nutritional and mineral trace elements that may be lacking in the more popular foods.
Is the high residential stability of the Ainu a result of their subsistence on salmon ? The economic importance of this fish for the Ainu is certainly great. But the deer also had an important place in their diet, and there is evidence to suggest that in some areas more than half of their animal food supply was derived from deer alone. In a settlement on the upper Tokapchi, for instance, the annual catch of the deer per family was not less than 300 while the annual store of fish per family consisted of 500-600 dog salmon and 600-800 cherry salmon. The figures are not likely to be exaggerated. The deer was hunted not only for the meat but also for the skin which was an important item of trade. The meat was consumed both by the Ainu themselves and by their hunting dogs. They also habitually prepared extra stores of food as insurance against the year when resources failed. The Tushipet valley in Tokapchi had no runs of dog salmon and the Ainu there lived chiefly on deer. In spite of their dependence on deer, even the Tushipet Ainu maintained perennially inhabited settlements.
One of the fundamental factors relevant to the high stability of residence among the Ainu may have been the distribution of the ecological zones within narrow river valleys they inhabited (Fig. I ) . Ecological zones refer to the zones of exploitative activities classified in terms of physiography and biota. The subsistence activities of the Ainu were conducted in the following ecological zones,each of which yielded specific resources in specific seasons : (erformt;d by women. There are concrete data (Watanabe, 1 964a) showing that those groups who practiced farming gathered wild roots with less frequency and in smaller quantities than those who did not. But there is no evidence that the introduction of the primitive (pre-I884) agriculture significantly increased the stability (jf residence among them. A similar distribution pattern of ecological zones and a high stability of residence are found among the Northern Paiute in Owens Valley (Steward, 1938). In both Hokkaido and Owens Valley, it is the presence of narrow valleys that permitted the maintenance of year-round residence . The residential shift pattern depends upon
(1) The river : cherry salmon fishing (summer, in the main stream and some tributaries) ; dog salmon fishing (autumn, in the mainstream)
(2) The river banks : collecting of wild plants (spring to autumn)
(3) The river terraces : deer hunting (autumn) ; plant collecting
(4) The hillsides along the river course : deer hunting (early winter, at or near the animals' winter quarters)
(5) The mountain region around the source of the river: bear hunting, specialized (spring and autumn)
collection of elm bark for clothing (usually spring) . Zones 1-3 were exploited from a single center, namely the permanent settlement which is usually situated on the edge of the river terrace. The outermost zones 4 and 5 were hunting areas, each exploited from a different hunting hut. Some Ainu, especially those living downstream, did not engage in bear hunts and consequently had no hunting huts.
Ainu women and children (Watanabe 1964a) sometimes hunted deer with sticks, ropes, and/or dogs when they had opportunities.
The indigenous people of northern Japan, the Ainu, were the only group in the country that was consistently the subject of both tourist and scientific photography. Images produced by commercial and scientific photographers appeared in travelogues and tourist albums as well as in scientific studies in anthropology, medicine, and other fields. These images often reinforced widely held views that the Ainu were Japan’s “vanishing race” or “noble savage.”
Visible Ainu cultural practices such as tattooing and body adornment, as well as Ainu physiognomy, such as eye shape and body hair, were repeatedly photographed and discussed in tourist and scientific literature as evidence of the “primitive” state of the Ainu people and culture. Photographs in this section are examples of the kind of photography produced by and for scientists.
The Ainu people are not a handsome nation, though, as individuals, the race is strong, thick-set, squarely built and full-chested. The chief thing that strikes one on meeting an Ainu for the first time is his fine beard, moppy hair, and sparkling eyes; next, his dirty appearance, poor clothing, and, should he be near at hand, his odour. The Ainu certainly do not, upon first acquaintance, produce a very favourable im pression; in fact, to many people they quickly become repulsive, especially on account of their filth.
After more than eight years' experience amongst this people, and after having lived with them in their own huts and mixed with them both in their daily tasks and amusements—after having listened to their troubles, been by their side in sickness and in health, seen them at their religious exercises, and been present when the hand of death has been upon them—the present writer is prepared to affirm that a more kind, gentle, and sym pathetic people would be very difficult to find. The Ainu only need sympathy and kind treatment to bring out their real character.
• In some of the cases marked, the subsistence percentages have been changed from those published in the Ethnographic Atlas. The categories have been redefined so that shell fishing is included under "Gathering," and pursuit of sea-mammals under "Hunting." In the Atlas, both are ;ncluded under "Fishing."
Importance of Animal Products
Historic Ainu people were hunter-gatherers who practiced limited agriculture. Their diets were rich in venison, bear, millet, beans, peas, salmon, trout, rabbit, shellfish, fowl, and foraged plants. The Ainu lived as a sustainable part of their ecosystems for hundreds of years. On Hokkaido, a single household caught as many as 1400 salmon and 300 deer per year. On Sakhalin Island, dogs were raised as both transportation and food animals.
Ainu men supplied most of the red meat and fish for their families.
The Ainu people are most malodorous at times; but it should be borne in mind that the men and women sometimes walk ten or fifteen miles a day in a broiling sun with a heavy load of unsalted, sun-dried fish upon their backs. Such fish have by no means a pleasant smell, and, when once the odour gets well into their clothes, it most tenaciously remains there, and only requires a little perspiring dampness to bring it out in its strength. Not only so, but it is sometimes quite pain ful to sit in a hut with an Ainu who has lately been eating some kinds of dried fish, particularly the skate. It makes the breath peculiarly strong and noxious.
But there is nothing an Ainu loves so much as hunting, excepting, perhaps, getting intoxicated.
A few generations ago there was a very great famine in Yezo, so that thousands upon thousands of animals— deer, bears, foxes, wolves, and rats—died. The Ainu would not have minded the famine so much but for this. The death of the animals was far worse than the failure of the crops; for the staple food was flesh. A great number of the Ainu died, starved to death. The people who lived towards the south of Yezo saved themselves by fleeing to Mororan, in Volcano Bay, where they were kept alive by eating shell-fish—the Haliotis tuberculata, or ‘sea-ear.’ These fish are very plentiful about Chiripet and Mororan. I believe the story of this ancient famine is quite true; for near the sea shore, about two miles from Mororan, there are some very large lumps of sea-ear shells to be seen, covered with nearly a foot of black earth.
In the winter time, particularly during the latter part of November and the early part of December, the women assist the men to net or spear the large salmon which are found in the rivers about this time.
the Ainu do not know how to cook. They are remarkably fond of stew, strongly flavoured with badly dried fish, and almost every article of food is cast into the stewpot, and is there completely spoiled. However, their food is not always cooked in this manner, for fish is sometimes roasted before the fire, and potatoes are baked in the ashes upon the hearth. A hungry man can make a good and enjoyable meal off sueh things. They are very fond of salmon, salmon trout, young sharks, swordfish, and whale; and, in the way of flesh, bear's fat and marrow-bones, the haunch of venison, and any part of a horse or bullock.
while grouse, wild geese, and cranes serve for game.
Salmon-fishing is a very favourite pursuit of the Ainu, and many of the people take great delight in it. Some of them are very clever at spearing salmon, for they commence to learn to use the fish-spear very early. I knew a lad only twelve years of age, who would some times start off to the river at daybreak, and return by eight o'clock with six or eight fine fish.
Importance of Plants
Women, meanwhile, gathered wild plants and grew grains and vegetables. They picked leeks and lilies in the forest, as well as wild grapes and berries. In early spring, they tapped trees for sap and collected fresh shoots of mugwort. Over time, as natural resources on Hokkaido dwindled, Ainu people relied more on Japanese rice for survival.
In the spring time the women, both old and young, crawl out of their sleeping places in the small hours of the morning, eat a hasty meal of cold vegetable stew, with perhaps a morsel of uncooked dried fish by way of relish, shoulder their tools, and proceed to the patches of land they call their gardens, to dig up the soil and sow the seeds, returning to their huts at sunset only to take another meal like that of the morning, and again lie down to sleep.
The Ainu mode of reaping is a long process, for it consists of walking through the gardens and pinching off the millet and barley heads with sharp shells. The straw is left standing; the Ainu have no use for that. Then, a little later on, just before the snow begins to fall, the women and children go away into the forests to pick up chestnuts, which are used as an article of food among them. About the same time they dig up the roots of the dog-tooth violet. These they wash, boil, and mash up into a pulp, then make into cakes and dry in the sun for winter food.
The Ainu gardens consist merely of small patches of land, generally upon the banks of rivers or in a valley. They cultivate one piece of land for two or three years running, then let that go to waste and take a fresh plot. This is quite necessary, for they use no manure. The Ainu understand nothing about agriculture; they have no idea as to how to cultivate the land. So long as a woman can procure sufficient food for her family to last through the winter, that is all she cares about. When ever the gardens fail, the Ainu live by hunting in the mountains, by what they can catch in the sea, or by such things as grow naturally.
[In December] Then millet must be pounded, the beans and peas shelled, and a thousand and one other little things attended to. Thus is the woman the slave of the man.
Seaweed and various herbs, the roots of some kinds of lilies, and many water plants, as well as leeks and onions, are used as vegetables;
The Aleutian and Pribilof islands are home to an abundance of foods from the sea and land. Traditional Unanga-n/s foods, harvested from the land and sea, are an essential part of Unanga-n/s culture and livelihood and have been for thousands of years. Unanga-n/s have survived off of these foods for centuries and continue to harvest and prepare many of these foods today. The Unanga-n/s traditional diet historically depended on foods from the sea; seal, sea lion, whale, fish and tidal foods provided the majority of nutrients in the diet. Birds, plants, caribou, and later reindeer in some communities, were also important sources of food. All of these foods continue to be used today and are supplemented with store-bought foods. The recipes have changed dramatically over the years with the increased availability of store foods and the influence of different cultures.
Importance of Animal Products
BRAIDED SEAL INTESTINE
The intestine of seal is referred to as an’giˆx or chidgiˆx (E) / an’giˆx (A) in Unangam tunuu. Seal intestine was one of the resources used in the past for making the hooded parka, or chigdaˆx (E). As a food item, the intestines of the seal can be used to prepare «braided seal gut» or An’gim chikuĝigan kiichkaĝii (E), an’gim amaĝii (A). Seal gut is usually braided by women, however few people know how to do it today. The gut from a small young seal, one to one and a half years old, is best to use for braiding because it is easier to handle and clean and it’s not as stringy as an older seal. It can be braided and stuffed with any parts of the seal, such as the heart, lungs, or kidney, but is typically braided with the fat [Atka]. Once the braided gut has been prepared, it is boiled, cooled, and then eaten with mustard. Lucy Kenezuroff learned how to braid seal gut from her dad, John Nevzuroff. Lucy was born in 1930 in King Cove to Annie Galishoff, and then moved to Belkofski. She came from a family of 13 kids. «I used to watch my dad braid seal gut. One time I was sitting out on the porch, my dad had strings all lined up to tie, to use for foxes and stuff. I took some of them strings, sit down and was putting them around my finger. That’s how I taught myself to braid seal gut. Using a rope». Lucy’s braided seal gut recipe has two ingredients: a cleaned gut of seal and seal fat, cut into strips. The end of the seal gut must be split open and scraped out until it is clean. This takes a lot of work. After it has been scraped, Lucy soaks the gut in salt water and continues to stir it and clean it further. Her parents used to get water out of the bay to soak the gut. The gut gets soaked in salt water for a day or two. Lucy cuts the fat into strips and stuffs it in the gut while she is braiding it. The fat helps keep the gut soft. After she is done braiding, she cuts the braided intestine into three pieces, each about a foot long, to cook it. It is then cooked in boiling water for about an hour, or until it is tender. She likes to eat it right after it is done cooking with some plain rice: «I don’t wait till it gets cold. I always dive in when it’s hot… it’s a real tender meat…it almost tastes like corned beef in a way.» While Lucy prefers to eat seal gut warm, some others prefer eating it cold with mustard.
JELLIED MEAT – ˆ STUUDINAX
Considered a delicacy by the Unanga-n/s, sea lion flippers can be cooked, fermented, or boiled and made into a dish called stuudinax. Stuudinax is a variation of head cheese, or meat jelly, that uses the natural gelatin found in the bones and cartilage of the flippers to gel. In the past, flippers were sometimes cooked until they came apart. When cooled they were sliced and eaten with potatoes, onions, other vegetables, bread, salt, pepper, and mustard. Some people ferment the flipper in a paper bag for up to ten days until the skin gets loose. Then, it is eaten right away or preserved in salt or frozen.
Importance of Plants
Chocolatie lily bulbs
Cow Parsnip, peeled stalks
lists native plants, not surprisingly, the only supposed nutrition benefits are fiber and antioxidants, which are both myths.
I am now grown old, and must soon die; and the succession must descend, in order, to my brothers, Opitchapan, Opekankanough, and Catataugh, and then to my two sisters, and their two daughters. I wish their experience was equal to mine; and that your love to us might not be less than ours to you. Why should you take by force that from us which you can have by love? Why should you destroy us, who have provided you with food? What can you get by war? We can hide our provisions, and fly into the woods; and then you must consequently famish by wronging your friends. What is the cause of your jealousy? You see us unarmed, and willing to supply your wants, if you will come in a friendly manner, and not with swords and guns, as to invade an enemy. I am not so simple, as not to know it is better to eat good meat, lie well, and sleep quietly with my women and children; to laugh and be merry with the English; and, being their friend, to have copper, hatchets, and whatever else I want, than to fly from all, to lie cold in the woods, feed upon acorns, roots, and such trash, and to be so hunted, that I cannot rest, eat, or sleep. In such circumstances, my men must watch, and if a twig should but break, all would cry out, "Here comes Capt. Smith;" and so, in this miserable manner, to end my miserable life; and, Capt. Smith, this might be soon your fate too, through your rashness and unadvisedness. I, therefore, exhort you to peaceable councils; and, above all, I insist that the guns and swords, the cause of all our jealousy and uneasiness, be removed and sent away.
The Athabaskan peoples, residing in Arctic and sub-Arctic Alaska, U.S.A., and the Yukon Territory and Northwest Territories of Canada have traditionally occupied a vast geographic area of approximately 3 million square kilometers. This enormous region has been continuously occupied by Athabaskan peoples for at least 10,000 years and includes three of North America’s largest river systems (Mackenzie, Yukon and Churchill Rivers). It also includes large areas of both tundra (barren lands) and taiga (boreal forest) as well as North America’s highest mountains (Mount McKinley and Mount Logan) and the world’s largest non-polar ice field (St. Elias Mountains). The southeastern boundary of the Arctic Athabaskan peoples’ traditional territories includes portions of provincial northern Canada. The ancestors of contemporary Athabaskan peoples were semi-nomadic hunters. The staples of Athabaskan life are caribou, moose, beaver, rabbits and fish. Athabaskan peoples today continue to enjoy their traditional practices and diet. Except for south-central Alaska (Tanana and Eyak) and the Hudson Bay (Chipweyan), Athabaskan peoples are predominately inland taiga and tundra dwellers. Collectively, the Arctic Athabaskan peoples share 23 distinct language and live in communities as far flung as Tanana, Alaska and Tadoule Lake, northern Manitoba, nearly 5400 kilometers apart. Shӓkat is the Southern Tutchone name for summer, harvesting season. This was an annual activity I did with my Grandparents, gathering a vast list of traditional food from the land for the long winter ahead. Starting in mid July through to September we fished for salmon, picked berries, and hunted for moose, which we call Kanday. This was a major food supply for the Dӓn, the people. Before my time all the food was gathered, and this was about survival for your family as there were no grocery stores in the days of my great-grandparents. Most times it would just be me and my grandfather together out hunting.
The south of Tanana River, called Tanana-Kuskokwim Lowlands and this ecoregion forms an arch north of the Alaska Range and Lime Hills. Native people of the lowlands are mainly Koyukon, Tanana, and Kuskokwim Athabaskans. Main communities are Fairbanks, North Pole, Tok, and Delta Junction.
The north of Tanana River, called Yukon-Tanana Uplands and this ecoregion forms are rounded mountains and hills located between the Yukon and Tanana Rivers and spanning the Alaska-Yukon Territory border. Native people of the uplands are Tanacross, Tanana, and Hän Athabaskans. Main communities are Fox, Ester, and Eagle.
Tanana Athabaskans were semi-nomadichunter-gatherers who moved seasonally throughout the year within a reasonably well-defined territory to harvest fish, bird, mammal, berry and other renewable resources. The Tanana territories generally is a mosaic of open and closed spruce forests covering the low gradient outwash slope between the Alaska Range and the flats and ridges north of the Tanana River.
The economy of Tanana Athabaskans is a mixed cash-subsistence system, like other modern foraging economies in Alaska. The subsistence economy is main non-monetary economy system. Cash is often a rare commodity in foraging economies, because of lack of employment opportunities or perceived conflicts in the demands of wage employment and subsistence harvesting activities. The primary use of wild resources is domestic. Wild resource use in many Athabaskan villages is overwhelmingly for domestic consumption, since commercial fishing in Alaska is absent. Commercial fishing and trapping patterns are controlled primarily by external factors. The state's limited entry system, operational by 1974 (after ANCSA), limits the number of available fishing permits for commercial salmon (esp. the Pacific salmonOncorhynchus species for salmon cannery) fishing. In Nenana, about one-third of households have a permit. Most (70%) sample households with a permit used. Those with a permit that did not fish commercially, did fish for subsistence.
Importance of Animal Products
Skinning and cutting 1000 pounds of moose meat was a lot of work for just the two of us. He always had stories that had important lessons for me. He talked highly of his father and how they would be traveling a long way on foot in the cold weather, and to warm up they would drink moose blood soup. Taking several hours to skin and pack up we were usually home at night and grandma would be worried about us. After hanging the meat for a full day it was time to process and make cuts and dried meat. I always asked my grandma to retell me the story of when her family went through a hard time. Her father had been gone one week following moose tracks and her mom and four other siblings had been harvesting squirrels for food. They were very lucky that the moose had circled around close back to the cabin. Moose blood soup and Dry Meat soup were always my favored meal growing up and I cook them often in return for my grandparents.
Hunting was associated with seasonal movements along trails and frozen rivers, particularly as bands moved between rivers and uplands. The primarily hunting animals for Tanana Athabaskans are big animals (caribou, moose, and wild sheep). Most valuable hunting animal is the caribou (subspecies Rangifer tarandus granti, Lower Tanana bedzeyh Tanacross wudzih Upper Tanana udzih). The caribou was the most important food animal in the Upper Tanana before the coming of the non-natives and resultant disintegration of the original nomadic patterns. The economic life of the Upper Tanana centers around the caribou. Not only does the animal constitute the source of food for the natives and their dogs, but also it supplies the material for their clothing, shelters, and boats as well as netting for their snowshoes and babiche and sinew for their snares, cords, and lashings. The caribou hunt occurred in the early summer and mid-summer. Caribou hunting during the fall migration involved the use of fence, corral, and snare complexes and was a seasonal activity critical to the survival of the Tanana people. Today, most caribou meat is typically used fresh, or is frozen for later use. The moose (subspecies Alces alces gigas, Lower Tanana denigi Tanacross dendîig Upper Tanana diniign) was other most important food animal for Tanana Athabaskans. Moose hunting is the most common resource harvesting activity among Lower Tanana Athabaskan bands. Moose hunting is always a popular activity in modern Athabaskan communities because of the meat's economic value and a food preference for large game. Moose hunting in the fall was either an individual pursuit or group activity. Moose meat was eaten fresh or preserved. The Mansfeld-Kechumstuk band of Tanacross employed several methods to hunt Dall sheep (in Alaskan English simply sheep, Lower Tanana deba Tanacross demee Upper Tanana dibee) in late summer and early fall in local mountainous areas or as far south as the Mentasta Mountains. Dall sheep were a desired source of food and material for clothing and tools.
Migratory waterfowl (ducks, geese, and swans) and upland game birds (ptarmigans and grouse) were a valued source of fresh meat. Grouse (spruce grouse, sharp-tailed grouse, ruffed grouse Lower Tanana deyh Tanacross deyh, ch'ehtêeg, tsą́ą' ts'uug Upper Tanana daih, ch'ahtagn, tsąą'ts'uu) and ptarmigan (willow ptarmigan and rock ptarmigan Lower Tanana k'orrh'eba, ddhełk'ola Tanacross k'étmah, ddheł k'aal Upper Tanana k'atbah) were taken opportunistically throughout the year with bow and arrows or with snares and fence-snare arrangements. Ducks and geese were easily captured when molting. Men in birchbark canoes quietly approached waterfowl in bays and coves and shot them with bow and arrows. Women and children then caught the birds and collected eggs from their nests.
Fishing (creek and river) was done near the village sites, and the fish were stored in large subsurface caches and is domestic and most common. The main economical fish (Tanacross łuug Upper Tanana łuugn, łuuk) species are mostly whitefish (humpback whitefish, round whitefish Tanacross xełtįį' ) and Pacific salmon (king (chinook) Upper Tanana gath Tanacross łuug chox, red (sockeye) Upper Tanana łuugn delt'al Tanacross łuug delt'el). Other fish species are pike (Upper Tanana ch'ulju̱u̱dn Tanacross uljaaddh), grayling (Lower Tanana srajela Upper Tanana seejiil Tanacross seejel), lingcod (Upper Tanana and Tanacross ts'aan) and sucker (Upper Tanana taats'adn Tanacross tats'aht'ôl). Fishing at Mansfield Lake and Fish Creek for whitefish, pike, and grayling began in the late spring and continued until mid-July and was a major harvest activity; whitifish was an especially important and perennially reliable food source. All band members except the very young children assisted in harvesting and processing the catch. The spring fish harvest provided a welcome dietary change after a long winter of eating mostly dried fish and meat. Fish not eaten fresh were processed and dried on drying racks for later consumption. Both fresh and dried fish were cooked in boiling water, produced by placing heated stones into a birch bark basket.
Importance of Plants
The white spruce (Picea glauca) and black spruce (Picea mariana) are the dominant tree, with its maximum tree line being held at around 4,000 feet. Above this limit only stunted willows and alders are found. In the lowlands, several ferns such as the ostrich, wood, beech and oak fern are found. Beginning in late spring and continuing throughout the summer and early fall months, both adults and children gathered a variety of plants and vegetative materials. Fruit and berries (Lower Tanana jega, deneyh, nekotl Tanacross jêg, ntl'ét, nit-sįį', ... Upper Tanana jjign, nt'lat, niitsil, ...), edible roots (esp. Indian potato or wild carrot Hedysarum alpinum Lower Tanana troth), and assorted plants (esp. wild rhubarb Polygonum alaskanum) were eaten fresh, preserved for later consumption, or used for medicinal purposes. Birch bark of paper birch (Lower Tanana k'iyh Tanacross and Upper Tanana k'įį) and spruce roots (Tanacross xeyh) were needed to make baskets, cooking vessels, tools, cradleboards, and canoes. The Upper Tanana use Vaccinium vitis-idaea as a food source. They boil the berries with sugar and flour to thicken, eat the raw berries, either plain or mixing them with sugar, grease or the combination of the two, fry them in grease with sugar or dried fish eggs, and make them into pies, jam, and jelly. They also preserve the berries alone or in grease and stored them in a birchbark basket in an underground cache, or freeze them. They also use it in their traditional medicine, eating the berries or using the juice of the berries for colds, coughs, and sore throats.
The reason for the deficiency in figures on subsistence is not hard to find. The purely aboriginal way of life had been greatly altered in most parts of the Northwest coast by the end of the last century and quantitative data are, as Kroeber pointed out ( 1939, p. 3 ) , not ordinarily recoverable by the method of ethno graphic reconstruction we must use in western North America. The reasons for the scant attention often paid to subsistence techniques are also easy to find. Some of the techniques had disappeared by the beginning of this century or had survived in forms altered by the introduction of European goods. But, also, the very complexity of social forms and richness of art and ceremony that draw attention to the area are likely to draw attention away from mere subsistence. Thus when McIlwraith ( 1948) had the opportunity to play a part himself in the Bella Coola winter ceremonies, he did so and the results form a good part of his two-volume work on that people. I find this quite understandable, but still wish we had more on Bella Coola salmon fishing than the pluses and minuses in Drucker's ( 1950) element list. Another reason for the neglect of subsistence probably lies in the assumption that the habitat was so rich that subsistence simply was not a problem.
Livestock and Trade
Borana keep livestock for various uses. Donkeys are kept as beasts of burden by each section, though mainly by the Boran-gutu who do not keep camels. Cattle, sheep, goats and camels all provide milk (and milk products), meat, hides and skins. In addition, camels provide transport. The Borana also use them for exchange: a cow may be bartered for a donkey, fifteen sheep for a cow, and two cows for thirty sheep for a camel. A pair of elephant tusks used to fetch thirty cows when taken across the Ethiopian border.
People used to set on a long trading journey which took many months. Many people still tell tales of how these traders walked as far south as Nyeri in central Kenya and even reached Mombasa. Sometimes, if they could not sell their stock quickly, they had to stay in one place for a long time.
For this reason they called Nyeri ‘Teto’ (settlement). The journeys were long, tiresome and dangerous. Some of the tribes through whose country the traders had to pass were very hostile. Animals and their products were directly exchanged for tea, sugar and clothing. There was also the exchange of stock for food crops and handicrafts going on between the Borana and the neighboring Burji and Konso.
Apart from their use in trade transactions, cattle and camels occupy a very important ritual place in the lives of the Boran-gutu and the Gabbra. They are used to pay bride, religious sacrifices and to pay fines in the courts of law.
The wealth and, to a certain extent, the social status of a person is determined by the number of livestock he possesses. The average number of heads of cattle owned by a family used to be at least three hundred. One thousand was not unusual and anybody with less than twenty heads of cattle was a very poor man who required a loan in the form of cattle from his close clansmen. This kind of loan entitled the borrower to use the animal’s milk and its offspring while it was in his manyatta.
The Borana take their cows in search of water every couple of days, and rotas are drawn up by the Aba Harega, who informs each person of the set time that they can visit the well. Clans are widely distributed among madda and are the primary mechanism for wealth redistribution. There are about 35 madda with an average area of 500 km². Each madda, on average, may contain several well clusters serving some 100 encampments, 4000 people and 10 000 cattle. Some 100 clan meetings are held each year in which the poor petition the wealthy for cattle. Political structure is related to the social structure.
Dress and Ornaments
The Borana traditional dress was made from goat and sheepskins. Three sheep were needed to make a complete garment for a woman. This dress was twisted round the body and held in place by a leather belt, and thong passed over the top of the shoulder held two corners of the garment together. Sandals were made from a single layer of hides.
During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, consecutive natural calamities occurred in North Eastern Africa that collapsed pastoral economies and forced human adaptations. A rinderpest epizootic and devastating famine characterized the period. Using oral narrations of the Borana Oromo of Southern Ethiopia, this paper discusses the impact of the Great Rinderpest of the 1890s on cattle, as well as the subsequent famine, and the beginning of predation by carnivores on humans.
Importance of Animal Products
The Borana are pastoralists, though a few also grow crops around Marsabit and Moyale, or in the southern Ethiopian highlands. There are also a few irrigation schemes in Isiolo District. The rest of the country has too harsh a climate for growing crowing crops and here the Borana are pastoralists. The Waat are hunters and gatherers and, because of their very small numbers, they have long attached themselves to other Boran clans, and in the process they have become completely dispersed.
A Borana is not allowed to eat certain kinds of food. He may not eat meat or drink milk from animals which do not have cloven hooves. That is to say animals belonging to the dog, cat, and horse families. He may also not eat fish, birds, reptiles or insects. Foods such as maize, millet and wheat are eaten by the Borana who lives in the higher and wetter areas, Marsabit and the southern Ethiopian highlands. For the majority of the members of the tribe, the staple diet is milk and meat. Because a man may own as many sheep, goats, cattle and camels as he can afford, there is sufficient milk from the many animals to feed his family, except during server droughts. They drink fresh or sour milk, and they use it to produce butter of ghee.
Meat is not a daily food, but forms a regular part of the diet. People are more apt to kill goat and sheep, but during a server drought a bullock or a cow may be killed for food. The meat is cut into strips and hung up until it dries. It is then fried and stored in animal fat. Sometimes the dried meat is pounded into fillets, fried and stored in fat. In both cases, the meat lasts for many months without going bad.
Blood may also be used for food. It is either drunk pure or mixed with milk. The blood comes from the jugular vein in the neck of a living cow or bull. The vein is made to stand out by tying a rope tightly round the cow’s neck. Then the vein is pierced with an arrow and the blood is caught in a gourd. Blood that has clotted is warmed and eaten. But no one bleeds the same cow day after day; one cow may give only a few pints of blood, and even then, maybe only once or twice a year.
To the north of Marsabit there are no permanent rivers, and most of the land is covered by sand and gravel, such as the Chalbi Desert, or by bare lava stones as are found in Dido Galgallu Desert. This is the homeland of the Gabbra, who herd camels. Camels can easily go without water for as long as three weeks. They feed on thorns and leaves and in this poor environment they produce more milk than cattle do. Other hardy stocks kept by the Gabbra are goats and sheep, both of which thrive in arid areas where frequent watering is not possible.
He announces three times that a son is born. Neighbours come with gifts of milk, animal fat and perfumes, while the father distributes some tobacco and makes a sacrifice of coffee berries. During the following four days, dances are held by the women to celebrate the arrival of the new born son.
Importance of Plants
Foods such as maize, millet and wheat are eaten by the Borana who lives in the higher and wetter areas, Marsabit and the southern Ethiopian highlands.
The study revealed a total of 49 medicinal plant species (belonging to 31 families and 46 genera) used to treat various human ailments, the majority of which 40 (81.6%) species were collected from wild while the rests from home garden. Herbs constituted the largest growth habit (18 species, 37%) followed by trees (16 species, 32%) and shrubs (15 species, 31%). Leaf `17 (35%) is the plant part widely used followed by root 13 (27%), leafy-stem 5 (10%), and seed 6 (12%). Oral administration was the dominant route (63%), followed by dermal route (22%) and nasal (11%). The highest number of plant species being used for infectious (48%) followed by two or more diseases and non-infectious disease. Of five and seven medicinal plants of preference ranking the highest ranks were given first for Croton macrostaychus used for malaria treatment and for Prunus africana as ‘’rare” for immediate collection and use in the traditional treatment. Significantly higher average number of medicinal plants (p < 0.05) were reported by informants of higher institution (14.3 ± 34) and adult age groups (11.6 ± 43).
Who were the Carib? - Possibly a carnivore population.
Importance of Animal Products
The Carib Indians were primarily fishing people. They took to sea in their long canoes to catch fish, crabs, and other seafood. Hunters also shot birds and small game.
Importance of Plants
In some Carib communities, farming was an important food source, with cassava, beans, squash, and peppers being grown. Other Carib groups did little farming and acquired peppers and cassava through trade or raiding.
The Chukchi based their traditional economies on reindeer husbandry in the interior of the region and marine mammal hunting on the coast of what today is called the Chukotka Autonomous Okrug. Numbering nearly 16,000, the majority live in small rural villages. Traditionally, marine mammal hunters (Chukchi and Yup’ik) and reindeer herders had close trading relationships, the center of which was food related – whale fat and seal skins for reindeer skins and meat.
At one time, Chukotka was one of the world’s largest regions of reindeer husbandry, in terms of numbers. In the 1980’s there were over 500,000 reindeer. The collapse of the Soviet Union saw a more precipitous decline in herd size than anywhere else in Russia. The number of reindeer fell to around 90,000 in 2001. However, thanks to regional supports to hunters and herders, numbers have recovered and investments have been made in processing facilities and equipment. Here we present two traditional Chukchi dishes from the Nizhnekolymsky District of Sakha Republic (Yakutia): Reindeer blood soup and the First Four Ribs. These dishes are also prepared in other Chukchi areas.
Importance of Animal Products
REINDEER BLOOD SOUP by Irina Krivoshapkina and Maria Yaglovskaya
Reindeer blood soup is the favorite national dish of the Chukchi. Traditionally, people used to cook it for children, as it contains the whole complex of vitamins, gives strength, improves blood circulation and provides a long-lasting ‘warm-up’ effect. Reindeer blood soup is used in traditional ceremonies and is also offered to guests. We have included the traditional and modern methods.
Traditional method Ingredients:
Reindeer intestines with inner organs (pitiyki)
Reindeer large intestine (nanuvge)
Reindeer blood (mulymul)
Visceral fat (the inner fat around the entrails) (eimyk)
Thoroughly wash and clean the intestines with inner organs, large guts, visceral fat and clean, chop finely, cover with cold water, and boil until thoroughly cooked. Pour the settled reindeer blood very slowly into the boiling broth, stirring steadily. The dish is ready when the broth thickens.
Modern method Ingredients:
Make a broth by boiling the reindeer head (antlers removed) in water. Remove the froth and impurities from the surface periodically and add salt while cooking. When the head is ready, remove it from the pot and strain. Mix flour with cold water in a separate bowl, add with the settled reindeer blood slowly into the boiling broth, stirring well. Cook until the broth comes to the boil and becomes a chocolate color.
THE FIRST FOUR RIBS by Zhanna Kaurgina and Vlada Kaurgina The Chukchi menu is not that known for its variety. Boiled reindeer meat is a constant daily dish, the favored parts of the animal being the breast parts including brisket, ribs, and the breast section of the backbone. Once the reindeer is slaughtered and processed into smaller parts, the first four ribs are boiled as a delicacy and is the first dish offered to guests. In winter, these ribs are frozen, stored and eaten at a later date. Why are the first four ribs from a reindeer considered to be such a delicacy among Chukchi? Depending on the age and condition of the reindeer, the first four ribs have the following qualities: • Bulk and mass with streaks of fat deposits; • Juiciness which is related to their high oxygen saturation due to formation of the first four ribs in the chest cavity, and as the chest part of the body is stiff, there is an intense accumulation of bone oil in the cartilage and bone tissues, which provide taste and flavor. • The broth produced from its cooking is rich in all healthy substances, is very nourishing and provides long-lasting sensation of satiety. Ingredients: First four ribs of a reindeer Salt Cooking method: Wash the ribs thoroughly and place into a large pot and cover with water. Set over a fire and bring to the boil, removing the froth that rises to the surface. Add salt, and maintain the fire so that the ribs simmer gently for 10-15 minutes.
Importance of Plants
WILD PLANTS IN THE FOOD CULTURE OF SIBERIAN YUP’IK AND CHUKCHI By Olesya Yakovleva
The east coast of Chukotka and on Wrangel Island is part of the traditional territory of the coastal Chukchi and Yup’ik. Their traditional activities include sealing, reindeer herding and hunting. They call themselves «yuk» – a man, «yuit», «yugyt» or «Yup’ik» – «real man». Their preferred food mainly consisted of the raw, sun-dried, frozen or sour meat of marine mammals. One such delicacy was a ma’ntak. Man’tak consists of two inseparable parts: whale skin and a top layer of fat and it needs long chewing. Other staples included cereals and roots, laminaria (a type kelp) and raw shellfish. Yup’ik and coastal Chukchi use around 60 species of terrestrial and marine plants for food. By way of illustration, there are no names for the whole plant in their various languages, but there are names for its edible parts – e.g. stem with leaves or the root. That which is not eaten is called «grass» or «flower». The gathering and preparation of plants for winter consumption is an important women’s activity, and is actually called «women’s hunting». Laminaria is considered obligatory part of the menu; even hunters pick it on their way home after sealing. Wild plants are necessary and important additives to meat and fish, which form the basis of the diet of Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka. Upa and other invertebrates – that is crabs, shrimps, sea urchins, starfishes, small octopuses, shellfishes (mussels, whelks), as well as seaweed (laminaria) – are all important components of the Chukchi and Yup’ik cuisine. Not only do wild plants add flavor, they also possess multiple health and medicinal benefits.
Sea squirt, or upa, is a saccate stationary animal: it remains firmly fixed to the substrate, such as stones and shells. Sea squirts are saccate round-shaped or cylindrical animals sized 0.5 to 10 cm. Their bodies are covered with smooth thick and often rather firm tunica. People eat sea squirt raw, boiled and frozen and they have long been used for medicinal purposes. Their tissues are rich in bioactive substances with unique pharmacologic properties. Moreover, sea squirts provide antineoplastic action. They have a detox effect, boost the immune system and activate blood formation processes. Also, sea squirts possess the unique ability to extract vanadium from the water and accumulate this rare element. Human organisms require vanadium to fight efficiently against infections. Moreover, in combination with other microelements, vanadium slows down the aging process and prevents atherosclerosis.
Since time immemorial, Indigenous Peoples in Chukotka have eaten laminaria washed in by the tide on the coasts of the Bering and Chukchi Seas. People gathered and ate laminaria during the whole year. Even in winter, when the coastal area is covered with thick ice, laminaria was extracted using special spiral devices. Laminaria is seaweed, which absorbs elements from its surrounding aquatic environment. Its length may reach up to 13 m. Laminaria contains a unique microelement iodine, which is very important for human health. Moreover, it contains a full set of other useful elements: magnesium, ferrum, bromine and potassium. Chukchi and Yup’ik also eat willow leaves, meadow onion, sweet edible root and leaves of nunivak, cyuk’-lyak (edible roots), k’ugyln’ik (sorrel), and berries such as ak’avzik (cloudberry), syugak (blueberry) and pagung’ak (crowberry).
1. An’ukak’ (chapl.) – fireweed (Chamaenerion latifolium). The leaves and stems of fireweed are used as seasoning for sour caviar, fresh whale or walrus fat and boiled meat, as well as being added to meat broth. In the past fireweed was also used as a tea brew, instead of tealeaves.
2. Kuvykhsi (chapl.), k’ykh’jug’akh’k’at (nauk.) – knotweed (Polygonum tripterocarpum). Knotweed is one of the most well-known edible plants of Chukotka. This plant is widely used and the buds of young knotweed is the first spring delicacy for children. In summer people eat them with seal blood and fat. Knotweed roots (siren – kusymu) are dried and stored for winter. They are then soaked in water and used as seasoning for meat and fish.
3. Roseroot (Rhodiola atropurpurea (Turczaninov) Trautvetter Nunivak) Roseroot – «nunivak» is probably the most popular edible plant for Chukchi and Yup’ik, which is indicated by numerous words related to and built with «Nunivak» stem. Also, only this plant’s name is used to denote one of summer months – August – Nunivik – «month of roseroot gathering». This word is likely to originate from «nuna» stem, which means «earth». There is an interesting relation between words «nuna» (earth) – «nunivak» (tundra) – «nunivak» (roseroot). Thanks to their excellent flavor, the sappy stems, leaves and roots of roseroot are all eaten to this day. People try to gather the leaves and stems of roseroot before seed maturity, while they are most sappy. The most traditional dish of roseroot is sour roseroot – nunivak.
4. Willow (various species) Salix sp. K,uk,un,at (leaves) There are three known species of this plant (Yup’ik have one name for all three species): Salix phlebophylla – Skeletonleaf willow, Salix arctica – Arctic willow, Salix pulchra – Diamondleaf willow. The young leaves of Arctic willow are stored for winter use. Then the leaves are soaked in cold water under a weight before use. In winter they are used frozen as seasoning for meat or fresh whale fat.
In summer the fat roots of Arctic willow are buried and in winter they are unearthed the bark is peeled off, which is then eaten as a seasoning with whale fat. «Summer gruel». Fresh leaves of knotweed are steamed, mashed, and added to the rendered fat and blood of walrus. Children eat this gruel with seal or walrus meat. «Spring gruel». Mash the young boiled leaves of knotweed and add rendered fat. When eating raw walrus meat dip the pieces in the gruel. «Winter gruel». Boil knotweed leaves until the broth becomes dark-green, then drain and put into various dishes for freezing or in a sealskin bag and store for the winter. In winter unfreeze the frozen mass and prepare the gruel. Add rendered fat and seal blood into the mash(the dish can also be eaten frozen). When boiling walrus, Ringed or Bearded seal meat, add fresh and boiled leaves of knotweed for taste and to add thickness to the broth. Grated knotweed leaves are eaten with fresh gray whale fat or white whale mantak (beluga whale skin). This broth is used as a preserving agent when preparing walrus meat for winter.
5. An’jina (chapl.), majug’lak’ (nauk.), lilugaja (siren.) – wild onion (Allium fistulosum). This wild perennial has an antiscorbutic effect, and grows in many places on the Chukchi coast and is widely used fresh as a seasoning for meat and fish dishes.
6. Pagung’ak’ (chapl.), akuvilk’ak’ (nauk.), pagnyk’ykh’ (siren.) – crowberry (Empertum nigrum s.l.). Crowberry is a watery berry with slightly sweet taste. It grows throughout Chukotka. It is normally consumed fresh and more recently as a jam. It is also used in several dishes.
7. Kitmik (chapl.), mysutak’ (nauk.) – lingonberry (Vaccinium vitisidaea var.minus). Lingonberries grow in small amounts and are eaten fresh and as a seasoning for various meat dishes. People also prepare lingonberry jam. Lingonberries have diuretic, binding, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects. The Yup’ik and coastal Chukchi have very rich knowledge about the value of plants in their food culture. To maintain both their health and their wellbeing, the food culture in the region necessitates a high biodiversity of edible plants.
The Comanche became the dominant tribe on the southern Great Plains in the 18th and 19th centuries. They are often characterized as "Lords of the Plains" and they presided over a large area called Comancheria, which came to include large portions of present-day Texas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas.
Comanche power depended on bison, horses, trading, and raiding. The Comanche hunted the bison of the Great Plains for food and skins; their adoption of the horse from Spanish colonists in New Mexico made them more mobile; they traded with the Spanish, French, Americans and neighboring Native-American peoples; and (most famously) they waged war on and raided European settlements as well as other Native Americans. They took captives from weaker tribes during warfare, using them as slaves or selling them to the Spanish and (later) Mexican settlers. They also took thousands of captives from the Spanish, Mexican, and American settlers and incorporated them into Comanche society.
Decimated by European diseases, warfare, and encroachment by Americans on Comancheria, most Comanches were forced into life on the reservation; a few however sought refuge with the Mescalero Apaches in New Mexico, or with the Kickapoos in Mexico. A number of them returned in the 1890s and early 1900s. In the 21st century, the Comanche Nation has 17,000 members, around 7,000 of whom reside in tribal jurisdictional areas around Lawton, Fort Sill, and the surrounding areas of southwestern Oklahoma. The Comanche Homecoming Annual Dance takes place annually in Walters, Oklahoma, in mid-July.
The name "Comanche" comes from the Ute name for the people: kɨmantsi (enemy),. The name Padouca, which before about 1740 was applied[by whom?] to Plains Apaches, was sometimes applied to the Comanche by French writers from the east.
Importance of Animal Products
Buffalo was the food the Comanches loved more than any other. They ate steaks cooked over open fires or boiled in copper kettles. They cut the meat thin, dried it, and stored it for the winter and took it on long trips. They ate the kidneys and the paunch. Children would rush up to a freshly killed animal, begging for its liver and gallbladder. They would then squirt the salty bile from the gallbladder onto the liver and eat it on the spot, warm and dripping blood. If a slain female was giving milk, Comanches would cut into the udder bag and drink the milk mixed with warm blood. One of the greatest delicacies was the warm curdled milk from the stomach of a suckling calf. If warriors were on the trail and short of water, they might drink the warm blood of the buffalo straight from its veins. Entrails were sometimes eaten, stripped of their contents by using two fingers. (If fleeing pursuers, a Comanche would ride his horse till it dropped, cut it open, removed its intestines, wrap them around his neck, and take off on a fresh horse, eating their contents later.) In the absence of buffalo, Comanches would eat whatever was at hand: dry-land terrapins, thrown live into the fire, eaten from the shell with a horned spoon; all manner of small game, even horses if they had to, though they did not, like the Apaches, prefer them. They did not eat fish or birds unless they were starving. They never ate the heart of the buffalo.
The Comanche were initially hunter-gatherers. When they lived in the Rocky Mountains, during their migration to the Great Plains, both men and women shared the responsibility of gathering and providing food. When the Comanche reached the plains, hunting came to predominate. Hunting was considered a male activity and was a principal source of prestige.
For meat, the Comanche hunted buffalo, elk, black bear, pronghorn, and deer. When game was scarce, the men hunted wild mustangs, sometimes eating their own ponies. In later years the Comanche raided Texas ranches and stole longhorn cattle. They did not eat fish or fowl, unless starving, when they would eat virtually any creature they could catch, including armadillos, skunks, rats, lizards, frogs, and grasshoppers. Buffalo meat and other game was prepared and cooked by the women.
Most meats were roasted over a fire or boiled. To boil fresh or dried meat and vegetables, women dug a pit in the ground, which they lined with animal skins or buffalo stomach and filled with water to make a kind of cooking pot. They placed heated stones in the water until it boiled and had cooked their stew. After they came into contact with the Spanish, the Comanche traded for copper pots and iron kettles, which made cooking easier.
Women used berries and nuts, as well as honey and tallow, to flavor buffalo meat. They stored the tallow in intestine casings or rawhide pouches called oyóotû¿. They especially liked to make a sweet mush of buffalo marrow mixed with crushed mesquite beans.
The Comanches sometimes ate raw meat, especially raw liver flavored with gall. They also drank the milk from the slashed udders of buffalo, deer, and elk. Among their delicacies was the curdled milk from the stomachs of suckling buffalo calves. They also enjoyed buffalo tripe, or stomachs.
Comanche people generally had a light meal in the morning and a large evening meal. During the day they ate whenever they were hungry or when it was convenient. Like other Plains Indians, the Comanche were very hospitable people. They prepared meals whenever a visitor arrived in camp, which led to outsiders' belief that the Comanches ate at all hours of the day or night. Before calling a public event, the chief took a morsel of food, held it to the sky, and then buried it as a peace offering to the Great Spirit. Many families offered thanks as they sat down to eat their meals in their tipis.
Comanche children ate pemmican, but this was primarily a tasty, high-energy food reserved for war parties. Carried in a parfleche pouch, pemmican was eaten only when the men did not have time to hunt. Similarly, in camp, people ate pemmican only when other food was scarce. Traders ate pemmican sliced and dipped in honey, which they called Indian bread.
[The importance of fatty meat is shown in the following Comanche legend, rewritten for a modern audience)
One time the People camped at the base of a mountain near a rushing stream. Over time a person disappeared, then another. The band grew troubled and took their worries to their medicine makers. After sweat lodge purification, after sage and sweet grass cleansing, the medicine makers held council.
"I do not trust those deer," Medicine Man said.
"I trust them less than you." Medicine Woman looked up at the mountain where the deer lived near a large cave.
"I suspect they are stealing our people."
"And keeping them in their cave."
"To eat," Medicine Man said.
"Our people depend on us to care for them."
"And we must do so.
Medicine Man and Medicine Woman walked up the mountain to the cave of the deer.
Guard Deer stood near four sticks at the dark hole of an entrance.
"Good morning," Medicine Woman said. "How are you?"
"You look plump and well," Medicine Man said. "What food do you eat?" Medicine Woman asked. "We eat good food," Guard Deer said. "Would you like to see?"
"Yes, we would."
Guard Deer picked up one of the sticks and knocked on the entrance. "One fat buffalo."
A buffalo trotted out.
"That is impressive," Medicine Woman said.
"Watch this." Guard Deer hit the entrance again. "One buffalo calf."
A buffalo calf walked out.
"I am really impressed," Medicine Man said. "Now you know how we get our food," Guard Deer said. "You may see no more."
"Thank you," Medicine Woman said.
As the medicine makers walked away, they whispered to each other.
"I do not believe that is all in their cave," Medicine Man said.
"I agree. We must find out what else is in there."
They hid behind a large rock while they considered their problem.
"Maybe we could change the sticks when Guard Deer looks the other way," Medicine Man said.
"Guard Deer is too sharp."
"That is true."
"They must change guards soon and the entrance will be unguarded for a brief time," Medicine Woman said.
"We must strike then."
Without making a sound, they worked their way back to the entrance. Concealed behind rocks and plants, they watched and waited. Soon Guard Deer stepped away to consult the next Guard Deer.
They raced to the entrance.
Medicine Woman grabbed a stick and hit the cave. "Two people."
Two warriors walked out.
Medicine Man placed his hand on the stick, and they struck again. "More men."
Many men ran out of the cave. All of them carried bows with arrows in quivers on their backs.
Deer erupted from all directions, but the warriors fought together to drive them back. When the battle was won by the People, most of the deer lay dead. The medicine makers turned to the deer still alive. "We are the strongest so hereafter we will eat you," Medicine Man said.
"Your skin and bones, all of your body, will be used to help the People," Medicine Woman added.
Guard Deer raised a head. "So be it."
In the extreme south, the Yurok and the Tolowa proportions of gathering/ hunting/fishing are 40/10/50 per cent and 40/20/40 per cent, respectively. This is an area where acorns were used and naturally the proportion for gathering is greater. From here northward the most common figure for gather ing is 20 per cent ; only the Puyallup and Kwakiutl have 30 per cent, while the Coos, Quiieute, Twana, and Klallam have 10 per cent. The Puyallup are a coast Salish group living inland from Puget Sound who quite likely did depend more on roots and bulbs than did their salt-water neighbors, though with the complex exchange systems of the area we cannot be sure. But there seems no reason at all to give the Kwakiutl a higher figure than the Nootka, Bella Coola, and coast Salish of northern Georgia Strait, all ofthem adjacent to Kwakiutl and all given 20 per cent.
‘Dolgan’ means ”people living on the middle reach of the water”. The Dolgan live in the territory of Taimyr, Dolgan-Nenetsky Autonomous District, Krasnoyarsky Kray and Anabar Ulus, Sakha Republic (Yakutia) and in the vast territory from the west side of the Lower Yenisei river to the east of the Anabar river. Dolgan number less than 8000 people. Traditionally nomadic hunters, gatherers and reindeer herders, the region is also home to the largest wild reindeer herd in the world. Despite the similarities in livelihoods and major economic activities with neighboring peoples, such as reindeer herding, hunting, fishing and gathering, Dolgan (the self-designation of Dolgan – dulgan, tya-kikhi, haka) culture contains a number of distinctive features that create its special uniqueness. Primarily, this relates to Dolgan traditions and their food culture. Dolgan cuisine, traditions and customs related to food, are an important part of the material culture of Dolgan culture and reflects their socio-cultural and historical processes, religious beliefs and worldview.
Importance of Animal Products
As the main traditional activity of the Dolgan people is reindeer herding, unsurprisingly the main component of their diet is reindeer meat, an easily digested and clean food packed with macro and microelements (calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, iron), vitamin B and vitamin PP (nicotinic acid), essential for good health. Reindeer meat can be boiled, dried, smoked, frozen or eaten raw. There are several Dolgan dishes made from reindeer such as kyyl ete (wild reindeer meat), et (boiled meat), amaha (stew made from cut meat and bone marrow), kyos (soup), oiogos mine (rib soup), heliei (meat broth with wheat flour), ulukte (sun dried meat), and others. Beside reindeer meat Dolgan also use bone marrow (boiled or raw), tun’iakh (hooves), tyl (tongue), karak (eyes), hynak (cheeks) etc.), and inner organs (liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, intestines etc.). Blood is used to make chyol (blood sausage). Dolgan consider velvet antlers as a delicacy, which should be slightly grilled on a fire before being eaten. Fishing is an additional seasonal activity, which is also socially and economically important for Dolgan. Fishing is important in summertime, when hunting wild reindeer is difficult. Domesticated reindeer are herded on separate pastures in order to gain weight and keep the wild and domesticated reindeer separate. Dolgan food culture is rich in various fish dishes, such as balyk mine (fish soup), diykula (dried fish), kabardaak (a traditional fish dish), kuumsa mine (brown trout soup), kyspyt (sliced frozen fish), kerdiilek – yukola (a special way to dry fish), tuustak balyk (salted fish), baarky (semi-dried fish). Favored fish for Dolgan are sturgeon, broad whitefish, muksun, nelma and coregonus. Traditionally the broth made from reindeer meat, fish or bird is called min. Min is very easy to cook while herding, migrating, fishing or hunting, because it does not require a lot of time or ingredients to prepare. Herders or hunters can quickly warm themselves from drinking min, and recover their strength. For Dolgan, as for other northern peoples, food is a key factor in maintaining health.
REINDEER EYE SOUP
Dolgan believe that by eating reindeer eyes, people will preserve their visual acuity, their sharpness of sight, and will retain good eye - sight into old age . Good eyesight is obviously very important for hunters and herders living out on the tundra . A symbol of the eye is also used in the Dolgan national costume, which you can see most obviously in the decoration of a man’s hat . The eye also plays the role of a protective amulet . First, you need to skin the reindeer head and cut it into six parts (while reserving the eyes). Wash all parts thoroughly and place in a cas - serole and cover with water . Cook the broth for long time, until all the meat detaches from the bones . Remove all cooked parts of the head from the broth; and detach the eyes from the frontal bone by hand . Filter the broth . Slice the eyes into 5-6 segments and return to the broth . The dish is ready . The entire eye is eaten . For a large family prepare the dish by using several heads
Importance of Plants
Wild plants serve an important medicinal function in the Dolgan diet and they are also an additional source of food, delivering gastronomic diversity and useful nutrients. Dolgan use the roots of edible herbs, wild onions, and berries such as cloudberries, blueberries and lingon berries.
Originating in Russia, the Dukha (or Tsaatan in the Mongol language) are more similar to the Sami — the reindeer herders who live in the Scandinavian peninsula — than to the Mongolians of the steppe. The nomadic shepherds move with the ‘ortz’, inverted cone-shaped tents, similar to the tepees of the ancient Native Americans, following the reindeer cycles.
These animals cannot live in the steppe or along the valleys due to the high temperatures. The Tsaatan live like this throughout the year with temperatures that reach between – 40 ° and -50 °. Milk is a precious food source to compliment their hunting; this milk is used for the production of cheese and for suutei chai, or milk mixed with black tea. The harsh environment means these people can not practice agriculture. They largely eat meat. They don’t practice agriculture because of the unfavorable environment, limiting themselves to eating only meat.
They tame the reindeer and break them to be ridden when they are very young, loading them with a weight of at least 20 kilos in the first year, moving to about 40 kilos in the second year, able to be ridden by age five.
Few Tsaatan remain. Their population today numbers only 44 families (about 200 – 400 people). They moved from Russia to Mongolian territory toward the end of World War II and tell of how they created positive ties with the Mongol state.
Never moving from the taiga, they remained a separate group, compared to the inhabitants at the bottom of the valley or in the steppe, and are distinguished by their great knowledge of the territory. Their faces are marked by harsh winters and working in the sun gives them darker skin and a weathered physique.
One of the most anticipated moments of the nomads is the meeting in front of the fire. In fact, it is usual to make a circle around the fire inside the tepee and share a hot meal, always accompanied by airag. With sheepskin and warm blankets to shelter from the cold, we close our eyes.
What remains of the Tsaatan pass on their beliefs, from generation to generation, invoking with songs their deceased ancestors.
Importance of Animal Products
Dukhas live differently from most other people in the world. The Dukha's sense of community is structured around the reindeer. The reindeer and the Dukha are dependent on one another. Some Dukha say that if the reindeer disappear, so too will their culture. The reindeer are domesticated and belong to the household. In many ways they are treated like family members and shown respect. The community's chores and activities are centered around the care and feeding of their reindeer. Dukha communities on the taiga are usually a group of tents of two to seven households that move camp to find optimum grazing for the reindeer. Herding tasks are shared amongst the camp with children at a young age learning to care for the reindeer and keeping them safe. The girls and younger women do the milking and make yogurt, cheese, and milk tea. Young men and women and elders help with herding. A few of the men stay with the reindeer in the winter months, living in the open air with their herds to protect them from wolves and other predators. The men also make and repair their hunting tools and reindeer saddles and carts. Since they rarely kill a reindeer, they supplement their diet of reindeer milk products by hunting wild animals from the forest.
The use and management of reindeer
Dukha raise their reindeer primarily for milk. Reindeer milk, reindeer yoghurt and reindeer cheese are the staples of the Dukha diet. Only a few reindeer are slaughtered during the year for meat and pelts. The reindeer also provide transportation. Because the taiga area is typically hilly and covered with forest, reindeer are not used for pulling sledges, but for riding and as pack animals. They take the Dukha for daily grazing, hunting, the collection of firewood, seasonal migrations, visiting relatives and friends, and traveling to the sum for shopping and trade. A 1.5 m long thin stick in the right hand is used as a whip. A rider gets on a tree stump and jumps onto the reindeer from the left side with the stick in the left hand, then transfers the stick to the right hand once the rider is mounted. The Dukha begin training reindeer for riding when the reindeer (called dongor at this age) are two years old. Adults are too heavy for dongor, so it is usually the children’s job to train them. Adults ride on hoodai (three-year-old reindeer) or older ones. They regularly ride on zari (castrated males). Special training is not necessary to train the reindeer as pack animals. The male reindeer usually carry loads weighing about 40 kg (88 lbs.), while females carry up to 30 kg (66.1387 lbs.).
Reindeer pelts are used for making winter coats. Bags, mats for traveling, and shoes are also made from the skin. Material for shoes is taken from the skin on the reindeer's shin. Reindeer antlers are ingredients in traditional Chinese medicine and have been supplied to China since 1975. During the summer, the antlers are cut off. The reindeer’s two front legs are tied to one hind leg to make the animal fall. The Dukha cut the antlers with a small saw. Because reindeer cannot properly regulate their body temperature when they lose their antlers and easily become exhausted, pregnant female reindeer never have their antlers removed.
Hunguun is one of the traditional meals that Dukha people consume as part of their everyday diet and the dish has been passed down from generation to generation. The dish is favored for its health benefits, pure ingredients, and its portability during hunting and migration. Ingredients: Reindeer milk, flour, salt, and water. Preparation: Mix all the ingredients into a firm dough, forming it into a round shape with a hole in the middle, not unlike a large bagel. Method: Make a large fire, with lots of wood, in order to create a good supply of ash. Place the round shaped dough into the ash and let it lie there, cooking for 30 minutes. Then turn it over and repeat on the other side for another 30 minutes. Remove from the ash and it is ready to eat immediately.
THE WILD YELLOW POTATO
The wild yellow potato grows in the forest and taiga regions with flower blossoms of a white or purple color. It starts growing in spring, and matures in autumn in mountainous areas and/ or mountain slopes and is characterized by its bright crimson flowers. The wild potato is collected in autumn and is used in winter, spring and summer. Before rice and flour, it was an especially important source of carbohydrates. The wild yellow potato is divided into male and female potatoes. The male potato has a ball on the top of the stalk. It also has widely spread leaves on the top of the stalk, which can be used in a meal either dried or not. The wild yellow potato is said to prevent fatigue and help those who consume them live a longer life. Preparation 1. Gather the wild yellow potato and clean. 2. Separate them from one another and boil them with water. If you decide to use it in winter, you will dry them in the sun for 3-5 days. Wild yellow potatoes can be used with the following meals: Soups, fried vegetables, dumplings and mashed with milk
Even (formerly known as Tungus) are an Indigenous people of Eastern Siberia living in five regions of the Russian Federation: Sakha Republic (Yakutia), Khabarovsky krai, Magadanskaya oblast, Kamchatsky krai and Chukotka. Today, Even number over 22,000 people according to the 2010 Census. Nomadic Even were reindeer herders and hunters; and also fished seasonally. The primary activities of settled Even on the Sea of Okhotsk were fishing, gathering, and hunting marine mammals. Even of the northeastern part of the Sea of Okhotsk coast call themselves Orochel, i.e. ‘reindeer people’, ‘owning reindeer’ (Popova 1981: 5). Even of the Magadan oblast call themselves Menel, which means ‘seated people’, ‘living in one place’ (Popova 1981: 11). Even from the Lower Kolyma river call themselves Ilkar – «real people» (Petrov 1991: 3). Even also have an internal distribution of names: Namankans (sea Even or people of the coast) and Donrytkans (‘living in the deep taiga’ or ‘people of the deep interior’ (Popova 1981: 6–7).
The Evens are hunter-fishermen related to the Evenki that live in the Chukotka, Kamchatka and Magaden regions. Also known as Lamuts and Tungas, they have traditionally lived in chums, wigwam-type dwellings covered with bark or fish skin, and made a variety of things from birch bark.
Like the Evenki, the Evens are unique in the world in that they have a small population but occupy a huge expanse of land. There are only around 17,000 Evens but have traditionally lived in an area covering 3 million square kilometers, an area roughly the size of Western Europe, that embraces mountains, taiga and tundra. Their neighbors include the Yakut, Yukagir, Chukchi and Koyak.
The existence of the Even as a distinct group is partly the work of the Russians who defined them as a distinct group rather than a subgroups based on their language and cultural elements. Over time they became more distinct as they borrowed features from other groups such as the Koyak methods of herding reindeer and the dwellings of the Chukchi and Koryak.
Even people as well as Evenki people do not have a word for «hello» or «goodbye» in their languages. When Even meet each other they usually say: yav bultanny? Which means ‘how was the hunt?’ Or yak ukchenek, ‘what’s the news?’ A combination of reindeer herding with fishing and hunting is at the core of Even culture. Since Even people were mostly living in mountainous regions, an important food source is the wild mountain sheep (Ujamkan). But there are also others such as wild reindeer (Bujun), moose (Toki), bear (Nakat), musk-deer, (Buchen), marmot (Chamak), different birds and fish. Nonetheless, reindeer are at the core of Even culture and spiritual life. They say: Oron bidjin – Even bidjin, Oron acha odjin – Even acha odjin (As long as there is reindeer – Even will exist. If reindeer disappear – Even will also disappear). Even use reindeer as transport for hunting and for milking. If hunting or fishing was not successful they would resort to slaughtering their own reindeer for food. The connection to reindeer is very close, so this would only be done as a last resort. A reindeer would live for a long time in the family, especially transport reindeer (Gildak) and people preserve a close connection to every reindeer.
Nimat - Customary Law Many Indigenous Peoples have the tradition of gifting, sharing and reciprocity in their system of social relations. Formally, gift and gifting are voluntary in these societies, but in practice are required; enabling a system of social relations based on the gift that is wider than just economic relations (Godelier 2007). Nimat is the customary law of Even and Evenki. This law is related to hunting and reindeer herding traditions. In literature it is often written that Nimat is a sharing law, but this is a simplification of this tradition. It is more than just sharing. After a successful hunt, a person who killed an animal(s) would offer this as the gift to a friend or his relative. He usually takes only the stomach with intestines or anything else, which would deteriorate quickly. Other parts of the animal usually stay at the place where it was harvested. Then he went home and told his friend or relative that he has a gift for him (Nimat) and that he can find this gift in a certain place. Then he explains him how it can be found. That person had to go then to find it and bring the game back home and share it among other members of community (Gayun – sharing and distribution of game between members of community). He had to decide which part of the animal(s) everyone would get. (Osenin 2017) Nimat is a fundamental law for Even people and food culture is deeply connected to this law. Game caught by one, is also for others: shared with all, and not only between those who are involved in the hunting, but also visitors will get their share – «Nemada» (share of the hunting without participation in it). Not only relatives but also neighbors, and even random people enjoyed unlimited hospitality and fell into the category of the Mata - a person who got a share of the game after hunting. In the past, this custom, and law in the understanding of Even people, pervaded all areas of their lives: it has an explanation in terms of economy, in particular, distribution practices, and in terms of social life, as a mechanism for establishing friendly and, under favorable circumstances, kinship relations on the exchange. It was also deeply rooted in the mind of a hunter, who believed that hunting success depends largely on the goodwill of the host-spirits. In Even traditions the custom of Nimat was elevated to the level of law. But the punishment for violation of this law would come not from people, but from nature. Even believe that after a successful hunt for a mountain sheep, wild reindeer or any other animal; if you do not share with your relatives or friends, then you will not have hunting luck, you will get nothing. The custom of sharing game is a kind of social relations between people, but also relates to the relationship between the society / individual and nature: the need for sharing caused by the traditions based on Even and Evenki notions of our connection with the earth. This was also an attempt to establish social relations with the world of nature and the spirit world in order to ensure vital functions and continued life. The apparent reason for sharing – the expectation of reciprocity and gift not only from a person, but from the nature/ earth/host-spirits (because the hunter did the «right» thing). The accumulation of moral benefits, exceeds the scope of social links and moves into the sphere of relations between «humans – animals – spirit-owners.» Nimat provides territorial and economic relations between the nomads not only between relatives but also between unrelated clans. Probably, this custom helped Even and Evenki peoples settle Siberia so widely, where they had to live on the land occupied by other ethnic groups. So Even people are a very hospitable people, their hospitality has even been spoken of as being unlimited. They have another custom called Idekhe. This is about the slaughter of reindeer for guests and people close by. When you have a guest or when someone close by to you comes to your camp, reindeer herders make Idekhe.
OKEN’ – REINDEER MILK
Even use reindeer also for milking. They can milk reindeer from July to February. An adult productive female reindeer (Nyamichan) can produce approx. 1 liter of milk per day with a fat content of up to 19%. Even add it to tea. They also beat milk using a whisk (Itaki), which is then added to Even bread and blueberries.
KEBEL – EVEN YOGURT
For Even, the favorite dish made from reindeer milk is Kebel. To make it, fresh reindeer milk is filtered through a dense sieve and cooled down. Then you need to add 1/2 of teaspoon of leaven diluted in a tablespoon of milk and slowly, slowly stir, gradually adding it to 0.5 liters of reindeer milk. Within 15 - 20 minutes the milk will ferment and become a yogurt, then you add blueberry, cloudberry or Even bread and a tasty delicacy is ready. It is usually served for breakfast and you can work for a full day with the reindeer, without feeling hungry. But the most important thing is the leaven preparation: You need fresh abomasum of a just slaughtered reindeer, turn it inside out and, without washing the contents fill it with the fresh reindeer milk. Hang it in the Chora (Even traditional tent) above the fire with smoke and then dry it in the shade. You can also prepare a leaven from the abomasum of the wild mountain sheep – Uyamkan.
CHALMI, HILTA HILEN – STOMACH SOUP
The slaughter of a reindeer (Idekhe) or the occasion of a successful hunt for wild reindeer or mountain sheep means time for a feast for an Even family. The first dish is always made from the intestines of animals – a stomach soup (Chalmi, Hilta hilen). When you slaughter domestic reindeer, you immediately make an incision in the solar plexus and cut a blood vessel located along the spine, this is blood for making blood sausage. It turns out a lot of whey and with that you can make a sausage with a bright color. The entrails should be carefully and completely pulled out from the body so as not to spill the contents of the rumen onto other organs. The rectum (Momikan) and cecum, (Mevki) should be kept for the preparation of blood sausage. Other entrails: rumen (Goodi), abomasum (Orakan) and omasum (heŋŋi) should be washed with warm water. And the small intestine (hilta) and duodenum (Kurikich) are washed very carefully, without washing out the contents because they contain a variety of useful enzymes for human consumption, especially in the small intestine. In the old days, the bouillon from stomach soup without fat used to be given to malnourished people who had been hungry for a long time. It can be lethal to eat immediately after a long period of hunger. To such people, do not give a lot of the stock, only small portions every half an hour to revitalize the flora inside their stomach. After only a day or two, this person could drink more bouillon and eat nonfat cuts of viscera. Gradually he/ she will recover after this dish. Many people have been revived thanks to this knowledge. After washing the intestines, you put them into a large pan of boiling water in a specific order. First the rumen, then the abomasum, the midriff and the duodenum. At the end, you put in the small intestines. The small intestines are not boiled for long and are removed after 2 - 3 minutes, otherwise they will dissolve, and the bouillon will become bitter. After boiling all entrails, they are cut into small pieces and added to the bouillon. This soup is poured into bowls and served hot. Even food culture is diverse and rich and a wealth of knowledge is embedded in the Even food system and it is important to preserve, use and develop this knowledge system. Our food systems are little studied and the taboos and sacred knowledge surrounding it offer rich insights and clues as to how Even people can thrive moving forward into the future.
In Topolinoye 30 years ago an elder reindeer herder was lost. His name was Golikov Dmitry Gavrilovich. Afterward he couldn’t explain how it happened. He just went to search for his missing reindeer, without light, food, tent or any other things. They were looking for him for a long time and had not found him. We thought that he and his riding reindeer had been killed by a bear or that there had been an accident. After 1.5 months, this herder came by himself into the camp, which was 700 km away from his herd. He was exhausted and had been starving for a long time. Reindeer herders immediately slaughtered a reindeer and made a bouillon from the stomach soup to give to him. He survived. All reindeer herders are aware of this method from their parents. Story told by Maria Pogodaeva
The Even have traditionally been reindeer herders and hunters. Originally reindeer were used primarily as beasts of burden but as their traditional hunting methods changed they began to rely more on them as a source of food and hides. Today, some Even maintain very large herds of reindeer, with the largest in the 1990s having around 2,000 or so animals. The migration routes are often well defined and in many cases have been followed for centuries by particular clan groups or ethnic groups.
The Even eat nearly every part of the reindeer, including marrow, tendons, gristle and the soft parts of the hooves and horns. They regard eating the meat and tissues raw—particularly the lungs, kidneys and liver—as healthy. They also eat gathered plants, locusts, berries and nuts. Sufferers of frostbite were traditionally treated by wrapping them in the carcass of a freshly killed reindeer. Burns were treated with reindeer blood.
Even Hunting Life
The Even hunted of deer, elks (moose), bears, rabbits, foxes, mountain goats, musk deer and other animals for meat and for fur. When hunting wild reindeer they employed a domesticated reindeer attached with a lasso that would entangle any reindeer that tried to fight it. This deer would be maneuvered by a hunter to the leader of the herd who would try to battle it.
Before firearms became widely used the Even hunted bears alone with a spear and knife. The hunter encouraged the bear to charge and when it did the hunter threw a piece of cloth in the air to get the animal to rise up on its hind legs, leaving its chest area exposed. The hunter then kneeled and extended the spear forward. When the bear tried to lung for the hunter it impaled itself on the spear. The hunter usually had a dog with him whose purpose was to distract the bear if something went wrong with the hunt, allowing the hunter to escape.
The Even used powerful bows when hunting elk (moose) and crossbow-like contraptions to hunt small animals. Mountain goats were ambushed from a hiding place, deer were often killed only after being wounded and chased, sometimes for several days. In the winter the Even followed animals and track them on skis. The Even also fished and hunted nerpas (seals). During the salmon migration season they sectioned off parts of rivers and caught large number of fishing. To catch other kinds of fish they use square and conical nets.
Importance of Plants
They also eat gathered plants, locusts, berries and nuts.
Evenki are the most widespread Indigenous Peoples of the North. Formerly known as the Tungus people, they can be found from the coast of the Sea of Okhotsk in Russia’s Far East, throughout southeastern Siberia, and along the entire length of the Yenisei River to the tundra regions of the Taimyr Peninsula. Traditionally nomadic, they have practiced traditional subsistence activities, including reindeer herding and hunting. According to the 2010 census there are approximately 38,000 Evenki in the Russian Federation. Evenki food culture is mainly based on wild reindeer. Evenki also herd reindeer, but prefer to use their domesticated animals for hunting and transportation. For Evenki to eat their own animals would be a last resort. Other popular foods are mountain birds, water-fowl, occasionally bear and elk, and fish. In summer and early autumn the Evenki diet is complemented by reindeer milk, berries (blueberries, honeysuckle berries, blackberries, cloudberries, lingonberries and others), mushrooms, pine nuts and wild onions. But still, reindeer have always been and remain the absolute «king» of Evenki food culture. Everything is used from reindeer, and nothing is wasted. Evenki also eat everything except for the spleen, it being the only organ which should not be eaten, it is even forbidden to give it to the dogs.
Area Occupied by the Evenki
Like their cousins the Evens, the Evenki are unique in the world in that they have a small population but occupy huge expanses of land, in many cases at a density of one person per 250 square kilometers of land. They are the most widely distributed people in Siberia and the Far East and can be found in around half the territory west of the Urals. They can also be found in Mongolia and in northern Manchuria in China.
Evenki Population lives:
40 percent live in Yakut Republic
13 percent live Khabarovsk territory
28 percent live in Irkutsk and Amur Provinces and Buryatia
The Evenki make up 14 percent of the population of the Evenk Autonomous District north of Krasnoyarsk, where about 12 percent of them live.
In the Sakha Republic, the Evenki, live where there are no roads or towns, only taiga and tundra and snow. The nearest city, Yakutsk, is an hour and a half away by air. Along the Amur river in the Far East they live with the Nania and Ulchi ethnic groups.
The heartland of Evenki culture is in southeastern Siberia, north of Manchuria. The Evenki migrated out from this region using reindeer. After their first contacts with the Russians in 1540 they retreated to area between rivers. In the Soviet era they pleaded with the government to keep Russian settlements away from the traditional hunting grounds.
Importance of Animal Products
Evenki food culture is mainly based on wild reindeer. Evenki also herd reindeer, but prefer to use their domesticated animals for hunting and transportation. For Evenki to eat their own animals would be a last resort. Other popular foods are mountain birds, water-fowl, occasionally bear and elk, and fish. In summer and early autumn the Evenki diet is complemented by reindeer milk...
Here we present two Evenki traditional dishes: Kapka and Buyuren. These two are essential dishes for Evenki reindeer herders in the southern part of the Sakha Republic (Yakutia).
The term of this ancient dish «kapka» is used both for the designation the dish, and for the reindeer trachea. The dish is common among Evenki reindeer herding communities in this region, specifically the Neryungri and Olekminsky districts. The process of making the dish: When butchering the reindeer, you use the entire reindeer head to get the primary ingredients for kapka. You will need the trachea, lips, ears, cheeks, meat and muscles around the eyes, and different parts of meat (usually some meat with sinews). Separate all the ingredients from the skin and bones, rinse and cut into pieces. Fill the trachea with the cut-up ingredients. Connect the ends of trachea together to make a ring (by using a strong thread). Use a skewer made from willow to insert into the trachea and stake it near an open fire for 45-50 minutes, periodically turning the kapka, in order that it cooks evenly. After 45-50 minutes remove from near the fire, let it cool and slice. Place the sliced pieces of kapka on a pan and keep near the stove in order that they became drier (but do not fry). Women prepared kapka to give to their men, when they were going hunting or herding reindeer. They are quick to make and serve as a highly nutritious snack, which can be conserved for a year or longer. Traditionally, it was saved to use in bad times, when there was not enough meat to eat. People could boil it and make soups, or eat it as a snack. It is important to note, that during the process of cooking, no salt was added to kapka. Because once it is salted, it quickly becomes moist. Once cooked kapka was conserved in cotton bags, usually kept away from heat, or outside of the tent in special packs (immek) made of birch bark and reindeer skin. Immek is used for keeping and transporting different products, such as wheat flour and other perishables. There were no special occasions to cook kapka, though herders tried to make it while the reindeer meat was still fresh. In addition, it did not matter whether the reindeer was a female or male, but that the important rule in Evenki culture be followed – it is forbidden to eat reindeer calves. We (the authors) chose to present this dish, as we think it is important to show that it is not only meat which is used from the reindeer. Every part is important, and can be cooked. And kapka is both rich in nutrients and flavor.
BUYUREN – BLOOD SAUSAGE
Reindeer blood sausage (in Evenki language buyuren, buyukse, beyuhe, and subai in the Yakut language) is a popular dish for all reindeer herding peoples in the circumpolar North. Nonetheless, blood sausages are quite different in various reindeer herding regions and have different specifics in the process of cooking, in textures and even colors. Evenki reindeer herders usually make very soft sausages, sometimes of a very light color. The darker color sausage is less tasty, but not less healthy. Actually, the taste of blood sausages depends on the amount of blood and the fat content of the intestines. There are just two main ingredients for this dish:
fresh reindeer blood and intestines.
During the process of slaughtering, Evenki herders always collected the blood, usually the amount is about 5 liters, approximately 3 liters of which would be used for blood sausages. The blood is collected in a big bowl. One should let it be still for a while. Considering the fact that blood tends to coagulate, you should first slightly cut the very first layer of the blood with a knife. Then squish the coagulated pieces with your hands while the blood is still warm, in order to get more liquid blood. Do not stir the blood. Then filter the whole bowl, giving you only pure blood and let it be rest for approximately 8 hours (In some regions they let it rest for 5-6 hours). That which is left in the filter is given to the dogs. While the blood is standing, it starts to divide itself into three layers. The first layer is plasma - a very light mass on top. You use this first layer to make light blood sausages. The second layer can also be used for sausages or mixed with plasma, then they will have a darker color, but still soft. The blood from the second layer can also be fried with onions, or other vegetables. It is a very delicious and healthy dish especially for those who have anemia or low hemoglobin. The bottom layer is also boiled for dogs. While the blood is resting so that it divides into layers, you can clean the intestines, wash them and start selecting. The thin ones are sometimes used for sausages. You need to check that the intestines are not broken by blowing into them to check that there are no holes. Intact intestines can be filled with plasma or blood. Bring the ends of the intestine together and use a thread to connect them. Reindeer herders in the Aldan region also add salt, black pepper and garlic to the sausage. Place the intestines with blood into boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Add salt. Boil over a small fire, otherwise the sausage might rupture. A little bit later, poke the sausage with a toothpick to let some air out. Slice the cooked sausage and serve hot. Blood sausages usually were eaten right after they were cooked. But these days, raw sausages can be frozen and cooked later when preferred. However, it is important to remember, that only raw sausage can be put in a freezer, and that frozen sausages should defrost a little before cooking.
Importance of Plants
In summer and early autumn the Evenki diet is complemented by reindeer milk, berries (blueberries, honeysuckle berries, blackberries, cloudberries, lingonberries and others), mushrooms, pine nuts and wild onions. But still, reindeer have always been and remain the absolute «king» of Evenki food culture.
I had now been several days without tasting anything besides meat: I did not at all dislike this new regimen; but I felt as if it would only have agreed with me with hard exercise. I have heard that patients in England, when desired to confine themselves exclusively to an animal diet, even with the hope of life before their eyes, have hardly been able to endure it. Yet the Gaucho in the Pampas, for months together, touches nothing but beef. But they eat, I observe, a very large proportion of fat, which is of a less animalised nature; and they particularly dislike dry meat, such as that of the Agouti. Dr. Richardson, also, has remarked, “that when people have fed for a long time solely upon lean animal food, the desire for fat becomes so insatiable, that they can consume a large quantity of unmixed and even oily fat without nausea:” this appears to me a curious physiological fact. It is, perhaps, from their meat regimen that the Gauchos, like other carnivorous animals, can abstain long from food. I was told that at Tandeel some troops voluntarily pursued a party of Indians for three days, without eating or drinking.
The gaucho diet was composed almost entirely of beef while on the range, supplemented by yerba mate (erva-mate in Portuguese), an herbal infusion made from the leaves of a South American tree, a type of holly rich in caffeine and nutrients.
Gwich’in are Indigenous Athabaskan Dene peoples who have inhabited the areas of the interior region of Alaska in the U.S.A, and the Northern Yukon, and Inuvik Region of the Northwest Territories, Canada; since time immemorial. Gwich’in are commonly referred to as just ̧Gwich’in» due to the English translation being «The people of a certain area», so saying, «the Gwich’in people» would be similar to saying «the people» twice. Gwich’in are also known as Dinjii Zhuh, which refers to a person as a whole, rather than the area in which they inhabit. Gwich’in are known by many different names including ‘the caribou people’. Today, Gwich’in are settled in 11 different communities and ten different bands across northern Alaska and Canada, still to this day practicing ancestral traditions such as hunting, fishing, trapping, moose hide tanning, and sewing. The land, animals, language, and culture are very important to us with many different organizations and initiatives aimed towards autonomy. The Gwich’in language is considered critically endangered as approximately out of 9,000 or so Gwich’in, only 500 people still speak the language. Although the Gwich’in language is taught in the primary and secondary school system, the number of language speakers continues to decline. Organizations that exist to combat language decline include the Gwich’in Social and Cultural Institute, the Gwich’in Language Revival Campaign #SpeakGwichinToMe, and the Yukon and Alaska Native Language Centers.
Importance of Animal Products
As a young girl I travelled throughout the land with my father learning about the importance of the caribou (vadzaih), being taught how to identify animal tracks and different food sources of the caribou and being taught stories and proverbs. One such is a rite of passage for manhood in Gwich’in culture, which is when a boy hunts his first caribou, which then must be given away and shared with community members, specifically elders. Another is that half of our Gwich’in heart is that of a caribou, as our reliance on the animal is so large, that we cannot exist without them. Gwich’in were originally a semi-nomadic people, following the caribou, which we depended on for food, shelter, clothing, tools, and weapons. My aunty vividly remembers living on the land with her grandparents for months at a time and all of her clothing being made out of caribou hides, from her shirt to her jacket to her pants, and even her toboggan, and watching her grandfather make snowshoes from caribou sinew and willows. Other animals and plants harvested for Gwich’in sustenance were and still are big game such as moose, waterfowl such as ducks, geese and swans, as well as small game like ptarmigans, rabbits, and grouse, including an abundance of beloved berries such as cranberries, blueberries, and cloudberries. No part of an animal is ever to be wasted and there is to be no disrespect when it comes to harvesting and handling an animal, including when it comes to the care of the land. The decline of the caribou due to over-hunting, climate change, mining exploration and development, inefficiency and or absence of harvest management and land-use planning, are all grave threats to the survival of the caribou, and therefore also us Gwich’in. Critical calving grounds inside the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge are threated by development in Alaska. Different caribou dishes loved and enjoyed include caribou marrow, ribs, heart, intestines, soup, stew, and dry meat (nilii gaih). Two different recipes that I would like to share are itsuu (pemmican) and nilii gaih (dry meat).
I have chosen these two dishes for their cultural and personal significance. Itsuu is traditionally a ceremonial dish, gifted during a period of mourning and nilii gaih is a personal favorite of mine, prized for its taste and unique flavor. Both dishes are prepared seasonally by either men or women, and predate flour. They are also favored due to their convenience when travelling long distances. Itsuu is more commonly known by the Cree word ‘pemmican’ and is a traditional Gwich’in ceremonial dish. Itsuu is a sweet tasting and filling comfort food and the animal fat in the dish is very sustaining. Traditionally, Itsuu is made with frozen caribou fat mixed with left over caribou dry meat with local berries. A contemporary way to make itsuu is with boiled caribou meat, grounded up with added sugar and berries with melted margarine then formed into meatballs and frozen. A story that I have about itsuu is when my uncle’s common-law partner passed away, my father gifted him itsuu and this was one of my first traditional Gwich’in teachings. Nilii gaih, or dry meat is another beloved delicacy made by slicing any wild meat (specifically caribou meat) very thinly and then drying it on a rack, turning it over periodically. Some people prefer to pound the meat to make it softer.
Importance of Plants
An abundance of beloved berries such as cranberries, blueberries, and cloudberries.
The Hadza is a HG group of about 750 people. They live in Eastern Rift Valley near Lake Eyasi in Northern Tanzania. As stated, Hadza feature prominently in ethnographic analogies with Paleolithic.
Herders have lived near the Hadza for many centuries (Marlowe, 2010). The Hadza do not make or use stone tools. They most probably relied on trading iron from neighboring farmers for at least 500 years since Bantu-speaking farmers arrived in the area (Marlowe, 2010). At the time of contact with European researchers, many of them were speaking their neighbors' language as a second language (Marlowe, 2010). Although in 1917 they were described by Bagshawe as not having dogs, evidence from 1931 to 38 indicates that they kept dogs (Marlowe, 2002:Table 1).
Woodburn (1968) reported that systematic subsistence data had not been gathered in the eight years since the beginning of his research in 1960. A 2009 paper by Marlowe and Berbesque reported that the caloric values of the Hadza diet were still being analyzed. A 31% meat component in caloric terms is reported in Marlowe et al. (2014) and Berbesque et al. (2016).
Considerable ecological changes must have impacted the Hadza territory for many years before European contact due to the encroachment of the Bantu-speaking herders some 500 years ago. Later, Nilotic-speaking cattle herders gradually took over the best foraging spots when they arrived from Sudan 200–300 years ago (Marlowe, 2010:17,18). Marlowe (2010:17) cites a personal communication from Woodburn, indicating a significant increase in herders' presence during the 1950's. Marlowe (2010:36) also provides evidence for herders' encroachment effect on the Hadza. The Hadza themselves say that there is less game than in the past. As noted, Obst (1912) reported seeing large herds of big game in the Yalda valley in 1911 during Obst's visit whereas these days, it is mostly Datonga cows and some gazelles.“ From exclusive use of over 2500 km2 at the time of the late 19th century European encounter, they retained only 800–1000 km2 by the early 1980's. By that time, further encroachment by Datonga herders took place with striking environmental effects, both on humans and particularly on wild ungulates, which were kept away from water holes. The Datonga's practice of digging large wells caused channel erosion during sub- sequent wet seasons, further decreasing the prevalence of natural water holes, which previously supported fauna during the dry season (O'Connell, 2006). Elephants were hunted for their tusks by foreign hunters for more than 100 years in this region until they became rare (Marlowe, 2010:19,30). The three largest animals – rhinos, hippos, and elephants – are not hunted today (Marlowe, 2010:58). Elephants and hippos are rare, and rhinos are absent in the Hadza territory (Marlowe, 2010:58; Marlowe, 2002). As noted, elephants and other mega- herbivores dominated the African herbivore biomass (Hempson et al., 2015), so the dramatic decline in their density can be a 'game-changer' for groups that rely on either hunting or gathering for their subsistence. The significance of large animals to hunting yield is demonstrated by the fact that although only 50% of the animals hunted by the Hadza were defined as 'large,' they provided a full 90% of the weight of the hunted meat (Marlowe, 2010:Figure 8.7). Analyzing a sample of 60 hunts of the Hadza (Bunn et al., 1988; O'Connell et al., 1990), we found that 57% of the weight of the hunted animals came from the largest animal, the giraffe and that 90% of the weight came from animals that weighed over 200 kgs (Ben-Dor and Barkai, In press).
The dwindling elephant population in the Hadza territory that was already evident by the beginning of the 20th century (Marlowe, 2002) may have had a particular influence on the non-meat component of their Pla-AniR. Baobab fruits and seeds provide some 18% of the Hadza calories and honey some 14% (Marlowe et al., 2014). The bee species that supply most of the honey to the Hadza (Apis mellifera) live on the baobab trees. Elephants are known to be a formidable 'predator' (killer) of baobab trees (Barnes, 1980), and their presence is known to sig- nificantly reduce the density and age structure of these trees (Edkins et al., 2008; Leuthold, 1977). Maintaining populations of baobab trees is a significant concern of park managers in parks where elephants re- side (Barnes, 1980).
Additionally, barries “comprised the largest share of the Haza diet, as measured by kilocalories,” and during their season (late dry and rainy seasons), “totally dominate daily consumption every day they are available” (Marlowe, 2010:114). Berries formed between 18 and 37% of the weight of the Hadza diet, depending on the season, and their avail- ability fluctuates in a complementary manner with baobab fruits throughout the year (Marlowe and Berbesque, 2009). However, here again, fruits, including berries, are actively sought out by elephants, and elephants are known to be a dispersal agent for barries, among other fruits (Owen-Smith, 1988:31; Feer, 1995). In all probability, with a natural, dominant biomass presence of elephants, and other mega- herbivores, the Hadza's potential for calories from the backbone of their non-meat diet - berries, baobab, and honey - would have diminished significantly. On the other hand, the relative contribution of animal- sourced food to their diet would have likely surged.
For the Haida of the Queen Charlotte islands we have a statement by an early observer, Poole, quoted by Niblack, who writes :Some of these berries are collected and dried for winter's use, forming, with dried fish, the principal winter's supply. Poole, ( 1863) says of the Haida, that they often, through feasting or improvidence, eat up all the dried berries before spring, and "were it not for a few bulbs which they dig out of the soil in the early Spring-time, while awaiting the halibut season, numbers of Indians really would starve to death" (Niblack, 1890, pp. 276-77).
[Netsilik Eskimo] Stalking a Seal On Spring Ice- Part 1 This short documentary on the Netsilik Inuit depicts life in an Inuit camp on the shore of Pelly Bay in early summer. A hunter catches a seal and drags it back to camp, where he and his wife cut it up. There is a use for everything--blubber, hide, fur, even the intestines.
Food is the center of Inuit culture and takes years of education to learn how to obtain and prepare . Many points have to be included when considering our foods – the passage of our Indigenous Knowledge1 , physical, mental and regulatory accessibility to foods, weather conditions, timing of gathering and preparation, funding for equipment and fuel, sharing, language, social networks, and respect are just a few (ICC Alaska. 2015). Our foods, recipes – are a connection from past to present . As one of the authors points out, it is not possible to sum up all that is involved in food preparation in a single recipe . However, we hope the below recipes (our Indigenous Knowledge) will provide you with a sense of our niqipiaq/neqpiat (real food: Inupiaq/Yup’ik). Referred to as Inuit internationally, Iñupiat, Saint Lawrence Island Yup’ik, Yup’ik and Cup’ik make up four Inuit regions within Alaska (see figure 1). A recipe has been provided from each of these regions, by Eilene Adams (North Slope), Cyrus Harris (Northwest Arctic), Sandy and Marjorie Tahbone (Bering Strait) and Sonita Cleveland (YukonKuskokwim).
TUTTU (CARIBOU) SOUP By Eilene Adams, Barrow, Alaska
Tuttu soup is a favorite dish of all ages . People have been eating Tuttu soup for as long as we know . We all grew up eating Aaka’s (grandma’s) Tuttu soup daily – whenever caribou is available . We like to hunt caribou in the fall, when they have more fat . Caribou brings both physical and mental health to our people – we have learned to use all parts of the caribou for survival . This is part of our value system and how we respect our environment . All parts of the caribou are used for food, clothing and tools . Antlers are used to make tools, sinew is used to make boots and even as dental floss, the stomach lining is used to waterproof boots, gloves and other clothing items . Today we include ingredients that are bought from the store, such as flour. But it does not have to be made with flour and at one time no one used flour.
Ingredients: Caribou meat (brisket and hind quarter are preferable, but any caribou meat will work), 1 cup of rice, ½ cup of flour, one onion. Boil caribou meat until tender - add rice, onion and cook for about ten minutes . Next add flour and cook another ten minutes. Some people like to also add noodles, potatoes, carrots or other vegetables.
MIPKUQ (BLACK MEAT IN SEAL OIL) – «IÑUPIAT SOUL FOOD» Provided by Cyrus «Naunġaq» Harris, Maniilaq Association
Mipkuq is dried ugruk (bearded seal) meat preserved in seal oil, and for thousands of years it has been essential to the diet of Iñupiat. Mipkuq perfectly suits the Arctic region. It provides a source of energy-dense lean protein, packed with heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids, and has a long shelf life that provides Iñupiat nourishment throughout the harsh winter or, in the early days, when other foods were not readily available. In the summer, when land fast ice is gone and there are offshore ice floes,teams of hunters harvest several adult ugruk on the sea ice and bring them back to camp. Adult ugruk grow 7–8 feet (2.0–2.5 m) in length and weigh 575–800 pounds (260–360 kg), which requires teamwork to transport and process. Delicious, nutritious and energy-dense, Mipkuq is highly sought after and present at nearly every meal and shared or traded with friends and extended family. It is used as a side dish, dipping sauce, or ingredient for other types of niqipaq (real food). In addition to physically sustaining Iñupiat people, Mipkuq also sustains Iñupiat spirituality. Traditional Iñupiat stories have called for the hunter to fill their mouth with seawater, which is then transferred into the mouth of the captured ugruk to return their spirit back to the wild. This practice was said to bring good fortune in future ugruk harvests for generations to come. It is also customary to give the season’s first catch to an elder as a sign of respect and gratitude. This reflects the Iñupiat Ilitqusiat (values) and sense of community associated with preparing, sharing, and consuming niqipaq foods such as Mipkuq.
MIPKUQ (BLACK MEAT IN SEAL OIL)
Ingredients: • Front straps, back straps and blubber from one adult ugruk Equipment: • Knives/Ulu/Gaffe • Flat cutting board (for butchering the ugruk) • Iññisaq (meat drying rack) • Qavrak board (a board for separating blubber from skin) • 30 gallon rendering bucket • Breathable cover for rendering bucket (game bag, cheesecloth, etc.) • 4 ft. debarked spruce stirring stick • Pot (for boiling meat) • 5 gallon buckets for Mipkuq storage Harvest, gut, and rinse the ugruk. Once the cleaned ugruk is hauled to camp, place it on a flat cutting board and remove the skin/blubber from around the seal meat. Let the skin/ blubber lay out on the cutting board overnight to dry. Carefully trim any additional meat attached to the blubber so that the blubber is clean. Separate the blubber from the skin (qavrak) using the qavrak board, and cut blubber into 1” x 3” looped strips. Trim and discard low quality blubber where blood has soaked into the blubber. Place good quality blubber strips in the 30 gallon rendering bucket, and cover with a breathable covering to allow for air exchange and to protect from insects. Closely monitor and stir the blubber/oil at least two times per day and let the oil render at ambient outdoor Arctic temperatures (~ 60o F or 16o C) in a protected area away from dust and rain. Oil rendering times can vary, with an approximate rendering time between one to two weeks. In the old days, blubber strips would traditionally be rendered within the intact sealskin hide called a seal ‘poke’. The black meat is made from the seal front and back straps. To prepare the black meat, hang the harvested ugruk meat to dry in the iññisaq for two to three days. This allows the meat to form a dry outer layer and develop a black color that indicates a taste that is not overly «gamey» or «fishy». The back straps are then filleted into an approximately 1/2” thick continuous blanket of meat and hung in the iññisaq to dry. Each day throughout the Mipkuq making process, the back strap meat blanket is monitored and turned over daily. For the front straps, after the initial 2-3 day drying period, they are cut into long 1” thick strips and hung back up to dry. Once the front strap strips reach 50% dryness, those strips are boiled in a large pot of water for approximately 15 minutes. After cooking, re-hang the cooked front strap strips in the iññisaq to dry for several more days. Once the cooked front strap strips and back straps have dried sufficiently, remove the black meat from the iññisaq and cut it into serving size portions (about 4 inches in length). Evenly distribute the black meat portions among 5 gallon buckets filled with the freshly rendered seal oil. The fresh Mipkuq is stored in a siġḷuaq, or underground cooler, for 3-7 days to give the black meat time to absorb the oil. Once the Mipkuq is good, it is stored in the freezer. The last step in the process is to feed your Iñupiat soul and enjoy your fresh Mipkuq with family, friends, and community members! The Maniilaq Association is currently working on a collaborative project to establish a regulatory approved process to make Mipkuq and routinely serve it to elders at our long-term care center.
THE BEAUTIFULLY SIMPLE WAY TO PREPARE UGRUK (BEARDED SEAL) By Sandy and Marjorie Tahbone, Nome, Alaska
It is rare (this day and age) that I will get fresh seal meat other than in spring; which is the time when many seals are harvested in our community and the majority of the meat is dried and stored in seal oil with rendered blubber. And having fresh boiled seal meat, blubber, and intestines is mouth-watering and I look forward to preparing this dish every spring. It is rather difficult, for me to explain how to cook native food. It is not like you can go to the store and pick up a few pounds of meat and intestines and they are ready to cook. If this were the case, I would say perhaps for 4 servings you would need 4 pounds of rib meat for boiling, 2 pounds of blubber, and a yard of guts! Knowledge gained through years of processing is hard, for me, to pass on in written form and trying to do it using very few words makes it more difficult. I have given directions for a person who has knowledge about processing bearded seal. Ingredients: Seal meat, Seal blubber, Seal Intestines, Onion, Potatoes (optional), Salt, Water This dish is prepared by slowly or gently boiling the meat, blubber, and intestines. The meat does not take that long to cook and is preferred medium to rare, but is okay to cook well done; so you will remove meat when done and continue cooking the blubber and intestines. The portions depend on how many people you are going to feed, so you will need to use your own judgment and common sense by adding more or less of the ingredients. When I am processing bearded seal in the spring for dry meat I dry the meat with no blubber on the meat taking the time to get every bit of fat off the meat before I hang it for drying; and save the meat that is hard to remove fat for cooking (the flap of meat that covers the ribs). I also save the ribs for cooking as well, especially if the seal is young and fat runs through the rib meat and is not good for drying. I prepare the intestines for cooking by first running water through the entire intestine for the initial cleaning then cutting them into two foot sections and turning them inside out for final cleaning. After the intestines are cleaned I cut them into 6-8 inch pieces for cooking. Prepare the blubber by removing it from the hide and if the blubber has been exposed to air for a time you will need to remove the top and cut it into 1-inch wide and 6-inch long sections for cooking. Cooking time for bearded seal meat is short not like cooking walrus. You can either use fresh or frozen seal meat, blubber and intestines. Prepare seal meat, blubber, and intestines as described above. Chop onions and quarter the potatoes. Put all ingredients in a pot and cover with water. Boil slowly, taking the meat out when desired rare/medium/etc. Continue cooking until the potatoes are cooked (fork tender). Take everything out of the pot and put on a serving platter. Serve the broth in cups and enjoy with some fresh spring greens in seal oil.
TUNUQ (ANIMAL FAT) AKUTAQ By Sonita Cleveland, Quinhagak, Alaska There are many ways to make akutaq. My favorite is tunuq akutaq because it is something different and provides a gamey taste that other types of akutaq do not. We eat it often and many grow up eating different types of akutaq. I watched my grandma make akutaq and she taught me how to make it. As my grandma taught me she always told me food shouldn’t be wasted: if we have it, it should be eaten. Now when I make it, it is like I am not doing it by myself. My entire family likes tunuq akutaq and so we eat it often. We mostly make tunuq akutaq around the fall when we go moose hunting. If there is enough fat, we store it to make food, such as akutaq. Making tunuq akutaq begins with rendering the tunuq. When we first get the moose or caribou or reindeer, we cut the pieces of moose or reindeer fat into small chunks, and we lay them across a baking sheet or cake sheet and bake for 2 to 3 hours at around 250 F, until it is rendered. When it is rendered, we take it out and pour it into another baking sheet and let that harden. Then we break it into chunks with an uluaq and freeze them and wrap them in foil, saran wrap, or ziploc bags and put in the freezer. When it is time to make akutaq the tunuq is taken from the freezer and melted or if the tunuq is fresh, we can render some to use. Some people melt the tunuq in a frying pan. I don’t like the slightly burnt taste it that a frying pan gives and so we put chunks of fat in a big cake pan and bake it on a low heat for a few hours. From spring to fall, we collect different berries to store. For this recipe, we often use blackberries or cranberries. Every time we want tunuq akutaq, we just take some berries and tunuq out of the freezer. Ingredients: 1 cup sugar – melted 1 ½ Crisco 1 ½ tunuq 3 cups of berries I like to use equal amounts of Crisco and rendered fat, a hand full sugar, and berries. First, whip up the sugar and Crisco until it is blended by hand, pour in the melted rendered tunuq and keep mixing. Lastly, add the berries. While mixing all of the ingredients together, the akutaq begins to stiffen – this is when it is ready to eat. Sometimes people put in white fish. We boil the white fish first, take bones out, lay it across a cookie sheet – or just use it. Chum salmon or halibut is sometimes used in place of whitefish. Many people today make akutaq with only Crisco although this was not the case long ago, as people did use Crisco or sugar. I prefer tunuq akutaq over Crisco akutaq because it keeps us full and has a better flavor. Akutaq is nutritious, despite the Crisco – these are natural oils and it is our organic food. When going out to get wood or fish, grandma always told me to taquaq (take food with) such as dried fish and akutaq to keep you warm, full, and to have energy. The older people we invite, like the elders, really like it when we make them tunuq akutaq. It is a rare treat for them and many say, ‘I remember my mom making this when I was younger.’ I know by eating it, it will give them memories of when they were younger. I am named after my grandma’s mom. When my uncle had the akutaq that my grandma had taught me to make, he said, ‘you take after your name sake.’ This is part of our knowledge passing through our generations. Unfortunately, many of the younger generation do not know how to make tunuq akutaq. As I get older, I will teach the younger generations.
In his primitive state he has provided an example of physical excellence and dental perfection such as has seldom been excelled by any race in the past or present. We are concerned to know the secret of this great achievement since his circumscribed life greatly reduces the factors that may enter as controlling units in molding this excellence. While we are primarily concerned in this study with the characteristics of the Eskimo dentition and facial form and the effect upon it of his contact with modern civilization, we are also deeply concerned to know the formula of his nutrition in order that we may learn from it the secrets that will not only aid the unfortunate modern or so-called civilized races, but will also, if possible, provide means for assisting in their preservation.
We are particularly concerned with the foods used by these primitive Eskimos. They almost always have their homes on or near deep water. Their skill in handling their kayaks is most remarkable. During the salmon running season they store large quantities of dried salmon. They spear many of these fish from their kayaks; even young boys are very skillful. They land salmon so large that they can hardly lift them. They are expert in spearing seals from these light crafts. Seal oil provides a very important part of their nutrition. As each piece of fish is broken off, it is dipped in seal oil. I obtained some seal oil from them and brought it to my laboratory for analyzing for its vitamin content. It proved to be one of the richest foods in vitamin A that I have found.
The fish are hung on racks in the wind for drying. Fish eggs are also spread out to dry, as shown in Fig. 13. These foods constitute a very important part of the nutrition of the small children after they are weaned. Naturally, the drifting sands of the bleak Bering Straits lodge upon and cling to the moist surfaces of the fish that are hung up to dry. This constitutes the principal cause for the excessive wear of the Eskimos’ teeth in both men and women.
The food of these Eskimos in their native state includes caribou, ground nuts which are gathered by mice and stored in caches, kelp which is gathered in season and stored for winter use, berries including cranberries which are preserved by freezing, blossoms of flowers preserved in seal oil, sorrel grass preserved in seal oil, and quantities of frozen fish. Another important food factor consists of the organs of the large animals of the sea, including certain layers of the skin of one of the species of whale, which has been found to be very high in vitamin C.
If inexperienced in primitive cultures, one is likely to misinterpret general statements about food. I might tell you, correctly, that the chief food of a certain group of Eskimos with whom I lived was caribou meat, with perhaps 30 per cent fish, 10 per cent seal meat, and 5 or 10 per cent made up of polar bear, rabbits, birds, and eggs. This might lead one to visualize meals where there would be a fish course followed by a meat course, and where we would breakfast at least occasionally on eggs. Such is most unlikely to be the rase, with primitive peoples. If 50 per cent of the year’s food is caribou meat, the primitive likely eats practically nothing, but caribou during approximately half the year, seldom tasting this meat the rest of the twelve months. His fish percentages will come in similarly restricted periods, and they are likely to be fish exclusively. The eggs, far from being breakfasts distributed through several months, would be occasional days of nothing but eggs during only one month of the year, in the spring.
By means of some 90 models of Eskimo teeth, Dr. Adelbert Fernald, Curator of the Harvard Dental School Museum, has proved that eating a strictly meat diet is the ideal way in which to keep the human mouth in a healthy condition, and that it is due to the fact that civilized people do not eat enough meat that they as a rule have decayed teeth.
Commander Donald B. MacMillan, the noted Arctic explorer, obtained about 90 impressions of the teeth of the Eskimos of Smith Sound, “the meat eaters,” who live the farthest north of any human beings. He did this at the request of Dr. Fernald, who desired the models for the Dental School Museum. The impressions were made on one of MacMillan’s most recent Artic expeditions. From the impressions, models have been constructed. Commander MacMillan said that “the Smith Sound Eskimos average about four ounces of vegetable matter each year per capita.”
Only one tooth of the 616 contained in the models is deformed. All the models represent mouths and teeth wonderfully developed. A more definite proof of the efficacy of a meat diet in maintaining healthful teeth could not be desired.
Out of the 616 teeth only seven are missing, while Dr. Fernald states that of the same number of teeth in the mouths of New England people, he would expect to find more than 100 missing.
In connection with the securing of the Eskimo teeth models from Commander MacMillan, Dr. Fernald arranged with Professor Hooton of the Peabody Museum at Harvard to secure impressions of the teeth of Yucatan natives during a southern expedition. These people are famous as vegetable eaters. Most of them eat no meat whatever. It was found that their teeth were very much decayed. At a surprisingly early age, their teeth lost all semblance of even a normally healthy condition, and most of them, when middle aged, had practically no teeth, whatever. It has been the experience of most dentists that those people who have the healthiest teeth are those who eat the most meat, which points to the same conclusion as Dr. Fernald’s researches.
Many of the models of the Eskimo teeth are perfect in every way, not having the slightest defect either of form or condition. Dr. Fernald states that is the 32 years of his dental practice he has seen only one set of teeth which were perfect in every respect.
Dr. Fernald says “Studying the models of these peoples’ mouth in the interest of anthropology and ethnology, as well as from an orthodontic standpoint. I consider extremely valuable, as much more data, can be obtained from models of a living person than from skulls. For instance, if the models show that the gums are apparently firm and tight around the teeth and have not receded that alone indicates to some extent a healthy mouth. From the fact that the arches are so even and well developed I should say that these people with so large arches are not mouth breathers, and therefore are not suffering from adenoids, enlarged tousils, and so forth.
Importance of Plants
The Eskimo situation varies from ours still more when it comes to vegetables. In the Mackenzie district these were eaten under three conditions:
(1) The chief occasion for vegetables here, as with most Eskimos, was a famine. There were several kinds of vegetable things known to be edible and they were resorted to in a definite succession, as prejudices were overborne by the pangs of hunger. (True famines seldom, if ever, occurred in the Mackenzie, but small groups would get short of food through some accident and then famine practice in eating would result).
(2) Some vegetable foods were eaten because the Mackenzie River people liked them. These were chiefly berries; and among berries chiefly the salmon berry or cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus). The Mackenzie River people ate these only during the season; but in Western Alaska, and elsewhere, berries and some other vegetable foods were preserved in oil for winter use—sometimes as delicacies, sometimes to guard against famine, and no doubt frequently with a mixture of both motives.
(3) One form of vegetable dish is eaten strictly in connection with another that is non-vegetable—the moss, “twigs and grass from a caribou’s stomach are used as a base for oil. In my experience the commonest reason for this use was that someone from a distance arrived with a bag of oil that was either in a particularly delectable state of fermentation (corresponding to Camembert cheese that is just soft enough), or else this was an oil from a favored animal not common in the district, say white whale brought into a sealing community."
Commander MacMillan said that “the Smith Sound Eskimos average about four ounces of vegetable matter each year per capita.”