Isn't that pretty? It's one of the table centerpieces made by newby docents and Helen-the-Ranger for this year's Honored Elder's Day (HED) at the California State Indian Museum. The bowl is a painted gourd and the uber sweet vegetation and acorn, grasses and such add just the right ambiance, don't 'cha think?
And check out the menu - that's something Chef Ramsey wouldn't mind serving up; California Indian cuisine - and yet...
Last week at the docent's meeting, a newby docent, herself a California Indian, stated that the Elders would turn their noses up at the menu, because it is too fancy and because not all of the elders like 'fish'. And, besides, she said, the elders look forward to getting Indian Tacos at HED, it's a rare treat for them.
A little background here, the Indian Taco is a flattened blob of flour/salt that is deep fried in hot fat like a doughnut. Then the resulting golden brown fried bread is outfitted taco style, with cheddar cheese, fried brown beef, refried beans, topped off with lettuce, tomatoes onions and maybe some black olives.
Here's the interesting bit - the reason Indian Tacos were not served today for the Elder's luncheon is one of the local, very hard working, Indian Health organizations vetoed the tacos as an intestinal holocaust perpetrated on the Elders by those (museum State Rangers/docent types) who are supposed to be entrusted with health & welfare of our Indian community's valued elders. In short, serve Indian tacos to the Elders and the *Health Nazis were going to pack up, leave the HED and take their blood glucose monitors with them. So, in the spirit of pleasing everyone, a menu composed of foods closer to the ancestral roots of our Indian Elders was substituted. Honestly now, Pacific Northwest Salmon skewers, Wild Rice with Pine Nuts & Cranberries.... I'm telling you, a lot of thought went into the new menu. Even acorns and chia seeds - both traditional Indian food - made it onto the new menu.
The upshot of the new menu, prior to today's HED event? Nobody happy; the Elders were deprived of their Indian Tacos, those who cooked up the ancestral feast menu felt slighted because all their hard work was viewed as elitist and sadly misguided. So, what was the end result? How did the elders take to the new, highly contested misguided menu?
GAK! Don't ask me. I, shamefully deserted the entire shindig after the first two hours, and was long gone by the time lunch was served up. What did I think about this year's menu? I thought it was AWESOME. What about the Indian Tacos? Why can't we just have them every other year, or maybe even get a vote from the Elders themselves on what they want. That'd be crazy, wouldn't it?
[*Management regrets Miss Miller was simply, unwilling to not use the most obvious & overused jest possible, referring to a dedicated organization of health professionals as Health Nazis. Management offers its sincere apologies to SANAHC and were a member of said organization to smack Ms. Miller a good one, Management would just happen to be looking the other way.]