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

N. Korea Sentences American to 6 Years Hard Labor

Matthew Miller's brief trial Sunday comes two weeks after 24-year old Miller and two other American detainees appealed to the US government to help free them More

Pakistan Rejects Afghan Criticism of 480-kilometer Border Trench

Military spokesman tells VOA the project is part of administrative and security measures taken to secure the mountainous border with Afghanistan More

Photogallery Typhoon Kalmaegi Makes Landfall in Philippines

Storm makes landfall late Sunday, cutting power and communications lines and forcing people to flee to higher ground 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.
Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interesti
X
Henry Ridgwell
September 12, 2014 8:35 PM
The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video Palestinians Turn to Rebuilding Gaza

After almost two months of conflict in Gaza, Palestinians are preparing to rebuild the isolated Mediterranean enclave with assistance from abroad. Meanwhile, an international human rights group has found that Israel likely violated international laws of war during some of its attacks on Gaza. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Middle Eastern Church Leaders Highlight Christians’ Plight

Patriarchs of Eastern Rite churches came to Washington this week to draw attention to the attacks against Christians in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. VOA’s religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid