News / USA

American Indian Museum Celebrates Thanksgiving

American Indian Museum Celebrates Thanksgivingi
X
November 22, 2013 9:04 PM
On Thanksgiving Day, which falls on Nov. 28 this year, families across the United States will gather for a holiday feast. It’s a tradition that traces its roots to the 17th century, when English settlers celebrated their first harvest in the New World. The restaurant at the National Museum of the American Indian pays tribute to that feast. VOA’s Steve Baragona says it’s a chance to get a taste of Native American culture.

American Indian Museum Celebrates Thanksgiving

On Thanksgiving Day, which falls on Nov. 28 this year, families across the United States will gather for a holiday feast. It’s a tradition that traces back to the 17th century, when English settlers celebrated their first harvest in the New World.

They shared the table with Native Americans, without whom they would not have survived that first year. The restaurant at the National Museum of the American Indian pays tribute to that feast, offering a taste of Native American cuisine that most Americans wouldn't normally sample during their Thanksgiving feast.

The museum's Mitsitam Café is famous in Washington for serving great food with a generous dollop of cultural appreciation.

“We always learn something new," said Marjorie Hass, a Mitsitam Café patron. "So, you get to have a delicious lunch and you learn a lot.”

The museum celebrates Native American history and culture. And Executive Chef Richard Hetzler offers edible culture lessons for visitors to take home for Thanksgiving dinner.

“We want people to eat seasonally," Hetzler said. "We want them to realize what Native Americans probably would have been eating at that time so they really get to see and taste some of those true ingredients.”

At this time of year in the Northeastern United States, that means squash, pumpkins and root vegetables, including some unusual ones like fresh black radishes.

"Something that most people wouldn’t think of as even being edible," Hetzler said. "If you walked by this at your farmer’s market, you’d probably think, ‘What am I going to do with this thing?’”

But roast them with a little oil, he says, and they make a great salad.

Hetzler wants to encourage people to be a little adventurous. Hence, the buttermilk-fried alligator.

“People, because of being in the museum, become very generous eaters, or they like to try different things that might not be in their typical comfort zone,” he said.

OK, so there was no alligator at the first Thanksgiving. That’s a Southern thing. Hetzler admits taking some liberties with the Thanksgiving menu.

Pilgrims and Indians probably did not dine on smoked duck salad with a golden beet vinaigrette.

But duck? Yes, probably.

And a corn, bean and squash dish called succotash.

“Succotash definitely, we think, would have been represented," Hetzler said. "It’s a very traditional Native American food.”

Don’t worry, they still serve the traditional turkey and cranberry sauce.

But for people who want a bit of museum sophistication on their Thanksgiving table, the Mitsitam Café is the place.

“We become a living exhibit within the museum because they get to taste, feel, smell and really immerse themselves in that native culture,” Hetzler said.

And enjoy some great food while doing it.

You May Like

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said To Be Improving

Experimental drugs have been tried on six people: three Westerners and now, three African pyhysicians More

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities residents rebuild their lives, but many say everyone is being treated with suspicion More

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

Girls learn to object; FGM practitioners face penalties from jail sentences to stiff fines More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: william from: scotland
November 26, 2013 3:27 PM
Find this surprising that native Americans would want to celebrate the arrival of European invaders who ultimately would seek to destroy them.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improvingi
X
Carol Pearson
August 19, 2014 11:43 PM
The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.
Video

Video For Obama, Racial Violence is Personal Issue

The racial violence in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson is presenting U.S. President Barack Obama with an issue to which he has a deep personal connection. To many Americans, Obama's election as America's first black president marked a turning point in race relations in the United States, and Obama has made ending the violence a policy priority. On Monday he issued a new call for calm and understanding. Luis Ramirez reports from the White House.
Video

Video Clinton-Obama Relationship Could Impact 2016 Election

President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have a long and complicated relationship. That relationship took another turn recently when Clinton criticized the president’s foreign policy. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports there is renewed attention on the Clinton-Obama relationship as Hillary Clinton considers running for
Video

Video Iran Looks to Maintain Influence in Baghdad With New Shia PM

Washington and Tehran share the goal of stopping Syrian-based militants in Iraq. But experts say it's Iran, not the United States, that will most influence how the new government in Baghdad approaches internal reforms and the war in Syria. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns has the story.

AppleAndroid