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Native American Food


Native American Food Anthropology 85A Professor Tanis Thorne By Yu Ong & Ryan Yabut Fry Bread as a Project We chose to do a project on fry bread because we thought ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Native American Food

Native American Food
  • Anthropology 85A
  • Professor Tanis Thorne
  • By Yu Ong Ryan Yabut

Fry Bread as a Project
  • We chose to do a project on fry bread because we
    thought fry bread to be interesting as it became
    part of Pan-Indian culture and its huge role in
    ceremonies and activities in all Native American
    cultures in North America. However, what made it
    more interesting to research is how it became
    part of all these cultures when it was not
    originally a traditional cultural delicacy of any
    Indian tribes in North America until the 19th
    century. Thus, categorizing it as a recent
    addition to any Indian culture. Its progression
    into being part of Pan-Indian culture shows how
    important it is as it is adopted by all Native
    American culture as a traditional food.

The History of Fry Bread
  • Fry bread is considered to be a traditional
    food, however it evolved in the mid-19th
    century. It all began with an American scout
    called Kit Carson (on the right) and his troops,
    who drove the Navajo people from their lands by
    destroying their means of survival. They killed
    sheep, goats, and horses poisoned wells burned
    orchards and crops and destroyed shelters.
  • They then rounded up thousands of starving Navajo
    and sent them on the "Long Walk" to Fort Sumner
    at Bosque Redondo, New Mexico.

  • The Long Walk of the Navajo, also called the
    Long Walk to Bosque Redondo, was an Indian
    removal effort of the United States government in
    1863 and 1864.
  • At least 200 died along the 300-mile trek, and
    the reservation itself was little more than a
    prison camp. Between 8,000 and 9,000 people were
    settled on a 40 square mile area, with the peak
    population being 9,022 in spring 1865.
  • The Navajos were imprisoned at Fort Sumner for
    four years. While the Navajos were at Fort
    Sumner, they were only given white flour and
  • With the white flour and lard, the Navajo women
    at Fort Sumner had to use poor-quality rations
    (provided by the United States government) to
    make their meals. Here, the Navajo women combined
    everything and fried it on a hot pan with lard.

Fry Bread as a Pan-Indian Food
  • Fry Bread is an all-purpose flat bread that is
    considered to be a staple of Indian cuisine
    (originally a staple of Navajo cuisine).
  • Fry bread is an integral menu item at tribal and
    family gatherings and a good fry bread maker is
    honored in Native American communities.
  • Fry Bread has become an Pan Native American food
    because it has been adopted in all Native
    American cultures.
  • The dough is a variation of that used for flour
    tortillas, consisting of wheat flour, shortening,
    salt, and water, leavened with baking powder or
    yeast. Navajo Fry Bread is originally a tradition
    of Arizona and New Mexico, and fry bread with
    honey butter is a specialty in New Mexico (which
    all have been adopted by other tribes).

Different forms of Fry Bread
  • The different ways fry bread are used today are
  • The Indian Taco (formerly called the Navajo
    Taco), which is one of the most famous kinds of
    fry bread. (As seen on the top right)
  • The Indian Taco is a fry bread covered with
    ground beef, pinto beans, tomatoes, and lettuce.
  • Fry bread covered with either honey or powder
    sugar to become widely known as a sweet treat.
    (As seen on the bottom right)
  • The Indian Burger is two pieces o f fry bread
    encasing a large beef patty covered with various
    toppings and sauces.
  • The Indian Hot Dog is a fry bread wrapped around
    a long piece of sausage covered with various
    sauces and/or toppings.

Is lard still used today?
  • The answer is No. Different types of oil are
    used today to make fry Bread.
  • One of the reasons why fry bread is no longer
    fried in lard is because of the health risks of
    using lard as it contains high levels of
    saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • The oils used today to make fry bread vary from
    each tribe as some use vegetable, canola, or
    olive oil.

How to make Fry Bread
  • Ingredients
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour2 teaspoons baking
    powder1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk1/4
    teaspoon saltWarm waterVegetable OilHoney or
    powdered sugar                                    
  • In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder,
    dry milk, and salt. Slowly add enough warm water
    to form a workable dough (start by adding 1 cups
    of water, then more if needed) knead until
    smooth but still slightly sticky. Cover the bowl
    with plastic wrap and let the dough rest at room
    temperature for at least 30 minutes or up to 2
    hours. After resting, divide dough into 4 equal

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll each piece of
    dough into a small ball and pat into a flat
    circle about 8 inches in diameter and 1/4 inch
    thick (it will puff up a lot) cut a steam vent
    in the middle of each circle of dough.
  • In a large, deep frying pan, heat 1 to 2 inches
    of vegetable oil (enough oil to flat the dough)
    to 357 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry the dough pieces,
    one at a time and turning once, for 2 minutes on
    each side or until golden brown (the bread will
    puff slightly and become crisp and brown). Remove
    from hot oil and drain on paper towels. Keep warm
    until ready to serve.
  • This recipe is the original Navajo recipe for fry
    bread and makes about 4 servings of Navajo fry
  • Other recipes of fry bread can be found online as
    each tribe throughout North America has their own
    version of fry bread.
  • Each recipe differs in the ingredients used and
    method of cooking but all are based on this
    original recipe.

A 20-year-old Creek Indian women making fry bread
for a cultural gathering.
How to make an Indian Taco
  • Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground meat (beef, lamb, venison or
    pork)1 cup diced onion4 cooked Navajo Fry
    Breads (see recipe above)1 head iceberg lettuce,
    shredded3 tomatoes, diced2 cups shredded sharp
    Cheddar cheese1 (3-ounce) can diced green
    chilies, drainedSour cream (optional)
  • In a large frying pan over medium-high heat,
    brown ground meat and onions until cooked remove
    from heat.

  • Place Fry Bread, cupped side up, on separate
  • Layer ground meat, lettuce, tomatoes, Cheddar
    cheese, and green chilies onto top of each Fry
  • Top with sour cream, if desired, and either roll
    up or serve open-faced with a fork.

Cultural Significance of Fry Bread
  • Ever since its creation by the Navajo in the 19th
    century, the fry bread has been adopted by
    numerous tribes around North America.
  • Fry bread soon became a Pan-Indian tradition as
    it is now imbedded deeply into the cultures of
    various tribes in the United States.
  • It has been so imbedded into various American
    Indian cultures as many Indians cant imagine
    going without it as many have built their
    identity around the popular concoction.
  • Fry bread is now used in almost every Indian
    ceremony and cultural gathering.
  • For example, the Hopi Indians in northeastern
    Arizona will have fry bread along with Hopi
    cuisine during their ceremonies.

  • Fry bread is now a subject that links all
    American Indians together.
  • Fry bread has increased the unity between each
    Native American tribe in North America as it has
    created a common cultural aspect they all share.
  • One of the largest cultural gatherings that fry
    bread can be found are in Native American
  • A Powwow is a gathering of Native Americans. It
    derives from the Narragansett word powwow,
    meaning shaman.
  • Typically, a powwow consists of both Native
    Americans and non-Native Americans meeting in one
    specific area to dance, sing, socialize, and have
    a good time.
  • Powwows vary in length as some may take 5 to 6
    hours or even a couple of days.

  • Every weekend from April through October,
    thousands of Native Americans throughout the
    United States and Canada head to powwows.
  • Powwows in the late 1800's and early 1900's,
    Indians were not allowed to have dances.
    Government officials  thought the dances were
    organized to resist federal forces. They did not
    realize that the dances were held only to honor
    their elders and warriors, give gifts and
    recognition to those deserving. It was also to
    sing honor songs, ask questions to the elders,
    teach by example, dance the sacred circle, and be
  • In the 1960's, officials finally realized that
    these dances and traditions were not dangerous,
    as they were only important to Native Americans.
    Native Americans today are developing deep pride
    in their culture and traditions.

Fry Bread as a Symbol
  • In todays Native American society, fry bread has
    become a symbol that represents the overall
    Pan-Indian culture and intertribal unity.
  • It is a symbol that many American Indians are
    proud to show as some have created phrases like
    Fry Bread Power, which are now printed onto
    shirts, bumper stickers, and other various
  • Some have even dedicated websites on fry bread
    and its symbolism to Pan-Indian culture and
    intertribal unity.

Is Fry Bread an Icon or a Hazard?
  • For the past several years, there has been an
    ongoing debate whether fry bread should be seen
    as an icon or a hazard.
  • With fry bread deeply imbedded into various
    Native American cultures around North America, it
    has gained a status as an icon to represent the
    Pan-Indian culture and intertribal unity.
  • Taking this away, many American Indians will lose
    a sense of the culture they all share and created
    as well as the unity they each have.
  • However, fry bread has also gained a reputation
    to be one of the primary causes of obesity and
    type II diabetes in the Indian population.
  • Although, not every case of obesity and diabetes
    among Indians can be blamed solely on fry bread
    as it takes other factors, such as a poor diet
    and a sedentary lifestyle.
  • According to a nutritional analysis by the
    United States Department of Agriculture, one
    paper-plate size (standard size) fry bread
    contains 700 calories and 27 grams of fat with
    little to no vitamins and minerals.

  • Many believe the diabetes rate began to skyrocket
    when Indians stopped living off the land and
    began using government rations.
  • In using government rations, Indians created fry
    bread as it is both easy and cheap to make.
  • This made it convenient for many Native Americans
    as more than half of the total Native American
    population is considered to be below poverty
  • One of the people who believes fry bread to be
    hazardous is Steven Deo, an artist and a
    Creek/Euchee Indian.
  • Deo created a series of public service
    announcement posters called Art for Indians
    (his first one on the right), which debuted on
    his art show in New Mexico.

  • Deos second poster depicts lard and other
    commodity foods. An equal sign follows the image,
    so that the message essentially reads
    Commoditiespublic assistance welfare.
  • His series is specifically aimed at the Native
    American community to create a cognitive dialogue
    about themselves and their socio-economic class.
  • Here, Deo is trying to argue that keeping fry
    bread as a symbol to represent Pan-Indian unity
    and culture, it is also something that prevents
    American Indians from changing their
    socio-economic status in the United States as
    they remain persistent on their reliance of this
    convenient but health hazardous product.
  • There have been numerous reports done on the
    Native American population about their dietary
    quality and dependence on this highly popular
    commodity food.
  • These reports have shown that if the intake of
    fry bread does not decrease in the Indian
    population, the rate of obesity and type II
    diabetes will continue to grow.
  • The reports also suggests that the intake of fry
    bread is beginning to have a detrimental effect
    on Native American children as more are becoming
    obese at a young age and developing childrens
    type II diabetes.

  • Many have even considered/advised to completely
    eliminate fry bread from American Indian culture.
  • This, of course, cause an uproar throughout the
    Native American population as fry bread has
    become an important aspect of various tribal
    cultures as well as the Pan Indian culture they
    have created.
  • Others have suggested in trying to make fry bread
    as healthy as possible.
  • Here, they argue that fry bread can still be part
    of their culture as well as their symbol as they
    modify the ingredients and methods of making fry
  • An example of a healthier recipe of fry bread is
  • Ingredients
  • 1 cup white flour
  • ½ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ cup honey
  • vegetable oil
  • Mix dry ingredients. Add water to dry
    ingredients, mix well. Knead dough on a floured
    board till it becomes elastic. Let Dough rest 10
    minutes, covered.
  • Roll out dough till it is ½ inch thick. Cut into
    squares or circles. Deep-fry at 370 degrees
    Fahrenheit till golden brown drain on paper
    towels. Drizzle with honey and serve.
  • This recipe makes 4 servings.

  • Despite the healthier version of fry bread, many
    have argued that that isnt enough to stop the
    increasing rate of obesity and type II diabetes
    in Native Americans.
  • Instead, American Indians are being persuaded to
    save fry bread for highly special occasions only,
    thus limiting its consumption.
  • The fry bread debate still continues today with
    no definite solution.

Whats Your Opinion?
  • Should fry bread be considered hazardous and be
    eliminated away from the culture or should it
    remain as an icon of Pan Indian unity and
    culture, while obesity and type II diabetes rates
    continue to increase?

Our Opinions
  • We believe fry bread should remain as a symbol
    for Pan Indian unity and culture because it is a
    type of food that is unique to Native American
    culture, which is mostly found on traditional
    gatherings such as a Powwow. However, Fry bread
    may cause risks of diabetes and obesity only if
    it is consumed in excessive amounts as it should
    not be something to be part of ones daily diet.
    Instead, fry bread should be eaten for special
    occasions only, such as Powwows and ceremonies.
    Also, fry bread recipes should be modified to add
    some nutritional values, such as using whole
    grain flour than white flour. This way fry bread
    remains to be part of the overall culture that
    has unified the Native American population
    together as a whole, while enjoying the
    worthwhile experience of such a cultural
    delicacy. Thus, this is what we believe as
    everyone should be able to experience an aspect
    of American Indian culture before it is decided
    to be removed completely.

  • Bibliography
  • Dietary Quality of Native American Women in Rural
  • Ikeda, J.P., S. Murphy, R.A. Mitchell, N.
    Flynn, I.J. Mason, A. Lizer, and C.
    Lamp. "Dietary quality of Native American women
    in rural California." Journal of the American
    Dietetic Association 98.n7 (July
    1998) 812(3). Expanded Academic ASAP. Thomson
    Gale. UC Irvine (CDL). 5 June 2006 lthttp//find.g
  • Feast or famine? Supplemental food programs and
    their impacts on two American Indian communities
    in California
  • Dillinger, Teresa L., Stephen C. Jett, Martha J.
    Macri, and Louis E. Grivetti. "Feast or famine?
    Supplemental food programs and their impacts on
    two American Indian communities in
    California.(Statistical Data Included)." Internati
    onal Journal of Food Sciences and
    Nutrition 50.3 (May 1999) 173. Expanded Academic
    ASAP. Thomson Gale. UC Irvine (CDL). 5 June
    2006 lthttp//
  • Fat Content of South Florida Indian Frybread
    Health Implications for a Pervasive
    Native-American Food
  • SMITH, JANELL, and DENNIS WIEDMAN. "Fat content
    of south Florida Indian frybread Health
    implications for a pervasive Native-American
    food." Journal of the American Dietetic
    Association 101.5 (May 2001) 582. Expanded
    Academic ASAP. Thomson Gale. UC Irvine (CDL). 5
    June 2006 lthttp//

Bibliography (Cont.)
  • The Diet Quality of American Indians Evidence
    From the Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by
  • Basiotis, P. Peter, Mark Lino, and Rajen
    Anand. "The Diet Quality of American Indians
    Evidence From the Continuing Survey of Food
    Intakes by Individuals." Family Economics and
    Nutrition Review 12.2 (Fall 1999) 44. Expanded
    Academic ASAP. Thomson Gale. UC Irvine (CDL). 6
    June 2006 lthttp//
  • My New Years Resolution No More Fat Indian
  • lthttp//
  • Picture of fry bread with honey
  • lthttp//
  • Picture of Indian Taco or Navajo Taco
  • lthttp//
  • Icon or Hazard? The Great Debate Over Fry Bread
  • lthttp//
  • History of Navajo Fry Bread
  • lthttp//
  • The Epidemic of Obesity in American Indian
    Communities and the Need for Childhood
    Obesity-Prevention Programs
  • lthttp//
  • Second Picture of Fry Bread
  • lthttp//

Bibliography (Cont.)
  • Picture of Eagle Spirit
  • lthttp//
  • Picture of Fry Bread Stand
  • lthttp//www/
  • Picture of Global Gourmet
  • lt http//