Bannock is viewed by many Manitobans as an Indigenous food, though its ingredients derive from European contact. But what would Indigenous food look like today if its development hadn’t been disrupted by colonialism? Chef Steven Watson, from Winnipeg’s Commonwealth College, talks about the historical, imaginative, and spiritual work of creating an Indigenous cuisine for the 21st century.
Written and Narrated by Janis Thiessen
Produced by Kent Davies
Interview participant: Steven Watson
Episode Image: Kimberley Moore
Theme Music: Robert Kenning
Steven Watson, interviewed by Janis Thiessen, January 16, 2019 in Winnipeg, MB. Digital Audio Recording. Manitoba Food History Project, “Winnipeg Interviews," Oral History Centre Archive, University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, MB.
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Catherine Flynn and E. Leigh Syms, “Manitoba’s First Farmers,” Manitoba History 31 (Spring 1996).
CBC Manitoba, “Profile: Steven Watson,” (30 March 2016).
Douglas C. Harris, Fish, Law, and Colonialism: The Legal Capture of Salmon in British Columbia (University of Toronto Press, 2001).
Dian Million, “Telling secrets: sex, power and narratives in Indian Residential School histories,” Canadian Woman Studies 20, 2 (Summer 2000): 92-104.
Emily Chung, “Indigenous clam farming technology is as old as Egyptian pyramids,” CBC News (27 February 2019).
Grant Achatz, Alinea.
Heston Blumenthal, Historic Heston (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2013).
Ian Mosby, “Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research and Human Biomedical Experimentation in Aboriginal Communities and Residential Schools, 1942-1952,” Histoire sociale/Social history 46, 91 (May 2013): 145-172.
James Daschuk, Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life (University of Regina Press, 2013).
Manitoba Co-operator “First Nations were first farmers in Manitoba,” (4 July 2016).
Jane Mt. Pleasant, “Food Yields and Nutrient Analyses of the Three Sisters: A Haudensaunee Cropping System,” Ethnobiology Letters 7, 1 (2016): 87-98.
Jane Mt. Pleasant, “The Paradox of Plows and Productivity: An Agronomic Comparison of Cereal Grain Production under Iroquois Hoe Culture and European Plow Culture in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Agricultural History 85, 4 (Fall 2011): 460-492.
Leo G. Waisberg and Tim E. Holzkamm, “‘A Tendency to Discourage Them from Cultivating’: Ojibwa Agriculture and Indian Affairs Administration in Northwestern Ontario,” Ethnohistory 40, 2 (Spring 1993): 175-211.
Nicole F. Smith, Dana Lepofsky, Ginevra Toniello, Keith Holmes, Louie Wilson, Christina M. Neudorf, Christine Roberts, “3500 years of shellfish mariculture on the Northwest Coast of North America,” PLoS ONE 14, 2 (27 February 2019).
Phil Fontaine, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada staff, and Aimée Craft, A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and University of Manitoba Press, 2016).
René Redzepi, Noma.
Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (Milkweed Editions, 2013).
Shannon VanRaes, “Treaty rights to farm were not fulfilled,” Manitoba Co-operator (3 March 2015).
Sarah Carter, Lost Harvests: Prairie Indian Reserve Farmers and Government Policy (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990).
Vanessa Watts, “Smudge This: Assimilation, State-Favoured Communities and the Denial of Indigenous Spiritual Lives,” Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies 7,1 (2016): 148-70.
Wendy Moss and Elaine Gardner-O’Toole, Aboriginal People: History of Discriminatory Laws (November 1987).
KENT DAVIES: You’re listening to Preserves: A Manitoba Food History Podcast. Exploring the rich, flavourful history of Manitoba food and the people who make it, sell it and eat it. From the packing table to the dinner table. From restaurant specials to grandma’s secret recipes. We consider the cultural, social, and commercial aspects of Manitoba food and what it means to us. I’m your host Kent Davies. As usual, I’m joined by Manitoba food and business historian, Professor Janis Thiessen. What’s in the pantry for us today?
JANIS THIESSEN: Today we’ll learn about a remarkable initiative in our province to recover and reimagine Indigenous cuisine for the 21st century.
KENT DAVIES: Nice! I know of a few Indigenous-owned restaurants, one of them is actually right down the street from the U of W.
JANIS THIESSEN: You mean Feast?
KENT DAVIES: Yes, I love their food.
JANIS THIESSEN: Me too, their bison chili is really good. And their saskatoon bannock!
KENT DAVIES: Their moniker is “Modern Dishes Rooted in First Nation Foods,” so their approach is to make popular contemporary foods like tacos and pizza, but using ingredients like bannock and bison. The result is just mouthwatering.
JANIS THIESSEN: That’s a delicious approach, but today’s podcast episode is a little different.
KENT DAVIES: How so?
JANIS THIESSEN: It’s not about substituting traditional Indigenous ingredients in recipes. Instead, it’s about a work of historical imagination.
KENT DAVIES: You’re talking about our visit with Chef Steven Watson!
JANIS THIESSEN: Yes!
KENT DAVIES: That was an amazing experience. Our listeners are in for a treat.
JANIS THIESSEN: I think so, too.
JANIS THIESSEN: Bannock. Often seen as traditional food, but it’s really a post-European-contact invention. White flour, white sugar, salt, baking powder – these weren’t ingredients in use by North American Indigenous peoples before European contact. But what would Indigenous food look like today if its development hadn’t been disrupted by colonialism?
Chef Steven Watson, an instructor at Winnipeg’s Commonwealth College, is exploring this question.1 Watson is from Peguis First Nation. He was a finalist for the CBC Manitoba Future 40 award in 2016.2 His grandmother is related to Senator Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. He has worked professionally as a chef at some of Winnipeg’s most popular restaurants, including Hu’s On First, 529 Wellington, and Brazen Hall.
We’re at Commonwealth College, where Watson has invited us to his classroom kitchen to sample some of his creations.
JANIS THIESSEN: What are you making for us today?
STEVEN WATSON: So we have two things going on. I think I wrote down the bison that we do, but I’ve got some bread here, too, just that we’ve been doing some testing on it. So we’re going to try it out today. What we are doing is, we call it 1491. Also known as pre-contact or time immemorial. But what it is, is basically any ingredients found only here in this part of the world 500 or more years ago – 1491 or prior. That said, within reason. So we’re not necessarily going to get salmon in the west coast or up north and getting some seal or whale or anything like that, right. So, within reason. You know, if we’re here, where we are now [Winnipeg], where could we go over the next few months? East, west, north, south, whatever. So trying not to use the borders, because borders didn’t exist either, right? So basically what we deal with here: a lot of bison, a lot of deer, a lot of elk, catfish, pickerel, grains and fruits, and different other vegetation that was here 500 or more years ago.
JANIS THIESSEN: Chef Watson prepares a tasting meal for us of bison, slow-cooked with berries, onions, and some tobacco. He serves it with parsnips roasted in honey, and potatoes roasted in duck fat.
STEVEN WATSON: A lot of people don’t realize how sweet parsnips are.
JANIS THIESSEN: He also prepares some bread which he carefully shapes into a Métis symbol, the infinity sign.
STEVEN WATSON: So here we have a bread made of whole grains, some wild rice, dried berries and hazelnuts, a little bit of honey and some duck fat.
JANIS THIESSEN: The bread is made with neither refined white flour nor yeast, and is served with a cranberry-onion jam.
STEVEN WATSON: Grab a spoon. Yep, looking good!
JANIS THIESSEN: With technological developments in refrigeration and transportation, we are able to eat foods from all over the world, in season and out.3 That culinary bounty can blunt our awareness of the diversity and deliciousness of the many local ingredients available to us here in Manitoba. Restricting ingredients to those available before European contact presents some culinary challenges for Chef Watson. No canola oil, as it didn’t exist in 1491. Instead, Watson uses fat from ducks and bison. Duck fat, in particular, has a delicious flavour – unlike bear fat, which he dislikes. The sauce he serves alongside the bison is not thickened with flour or cornstarch. Instead, he takes his time reducing it, transforming two litres of stock into a quarter litre of intense flavour. But other contemporary ingredients are not so easily replaced with pre-contact equivalents.
STEVEN WATSON: The main challenge – what we’re finding – is not so much the ingredients – what was used, what can we do with it – but lack of salt. That’s the big one. No processed sugar, no processed white flour, no processed fats like lard or anything like that, no baking powders, baking soda, that kind of stuff, those we can find ways around. We can’t find a way around salt yet.
JANIS THIESSEN: One potential salt substitute is ashes, but using ash not only adds saltiness but bitterness. But is salt really necessary?
JANIS THIESSEN: Is the need, the desire to find a salt replacement because that’s a way of trying to make this food palatable to folks who have for centuries grown up with that taste?
STEVEN WATSON: It is. And at times, it’s a battle, because there are things… One of the pros of this, what we do, is that it actually fits a lot of modern diets. And I mean diets as in, like to lose weight, to get fitter. The keto diet it fits, because a lot of meats; it fits the paleo diet, because, well, it is paleo [laughs] right? It fits a lot of those things. Generally, a lot of stuff we do is low carb, high protein, all those things. So it fits a lot of trendy diets, it fits a lot of old-school diets. It fits with the elders who can’t eat salt. There’s a lot of heart disease on reserve and whatnot, so it fits there well.
JANIS THIESSEN: Watson teaches in the Culinary Arts program at Commonwealth College. Founded as Patal Vocational School, the school serves students whose life circumstances can make it difficult to conform to the structural demands of more traditional universities or colleges.
STEVEN WATSON: Part of what we do here at Commonwealth… We have an Indigenous student base, we also have some international students, so part of our program here is Indigenous food research and development with what’s around and what can we do.
The other part of it is that we try to do the next step. So what that means is, 1491 they did it one way. Then over the next few decades it slowed down, and then it really basically stopped with the European influence. So when it comes to Italian food, or French food, or Japanese, or Chinese, they’ve had hundreds of years since then to develop their food culture. Indigenous people have not. It basically stopped. So we’re not necessarily saying we only do what they did. We only use the ingredients they used, but what would they have done in 500 years? What would they have developed, what would they have tried out in different ways?
JANIS THIESSEN: Sourcing some of these ingredients can be difficult. Some animals, like bison, are now farmed – these undergo health inspection prior to sale to the public. Other, wilder, ingredients are much harder to get a hold of.
STEVEN WATSON: So bison, elk, we can get, certain types of venison we can get. But there are times when… Like, moose, can’t get moose. Like we’ve used it! We just did it last week; we did a moose stew with fried wild rice. We fried it in cranberries and onions and duck fat.
JANIS THIESSEN: These sorts of experiments with uninspected but traditional meat are not done for public consumption, due to provincial health regulations that prevent it being served. Watson is unable to offer moose as he cannot find any that have been inspected. And moose are too big and require too much land to graze to ever become a viably farmed animal.
STEVEN WATSON: I can’t remember his name, but it was hilarious. I was walking out of the school to go get something from my car, and I saw him walking by with a big garbage bag on his shoulder. And he’s like, “Hey, Steve! How’s it going?” And like, “Oh, yeah, it’s going good,” whatever. And I go to my car and come back in, and he’s in the kitchen, the garbage bag is on the table, and he opens it up and it’s a caribou leg. And it’s still got leaves on it! [Laughter.] And it’s like, “That’s definitely not federally inspected!” [Laughter.] But still, you know, we made some sauces and stuff for it, and showed the students some things, and whatnot.
JANIS THIESSEN: Historically, the Canadian state played an active role in restricting the ability of Indigenous peoples from earning a living from food production. They did so in order to prevent economic competition with the European settlers they brought by the thousands to western Canada to farm. The construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway and the creation of the reserve system devastated the bison population, leading to mass starvation, as James Daschuk outlines in Clearing the Plains. Legislation was passed in 1881 that regulated how, when, and if Indigenous peoples could sell agricultural products.4 Indigenous peoples in western Canada, many of whom had farmed for centuries, were denied access to farming equipment under the “Peasant Farming Policy” of Assistant Indian Commissioner Hayter Reed.5 And Indigenous peoples on the Pacific coast had their salmon fisheries legally captured by federal fisheries officers to prevent them from competing with sport anglers and commercial canneries.6 The move away from such regulation of Indigenous food production has been very slow.
STEVEN WATSON: I found with fish, there’s… Is it near Gimli? But they’re opening a fish plant there, and we were actually going to get involved with that. But then it got delayed and whatnot. But there was going to be a fish plant where the Indigenous population could bring the fish they caught to this plant and actually sell it legally.
JANIS THIESSEN: The fish processing plant was to be near St. Laurent, on Lake Manitoba and create 100 jobs, but its success was contingent on the opening up of the federal single-desk marketing system. If that happened, fishers would have the option of selling to buyers other than the Freshwater Fish Marketing Corporation. But some Indigenous fishers, like those of the Norway House Fisherman’s Co-operative, fear that would end their ability to earn a living from fishing.7 Indigenous people involved in food production continue to be affected by larger economic and political forces.
STEVEN WATSON: Whereas here, back to the moose. As hard as somebody might fight, we’re going to need a push from somebody else who has power, maybe money, maybe a demand. Maybe if Costco came out and said, “Hey, we want to sell a million dollars’ worth of moose in a year” they might have the resources and the funds to push that through and get something done there. But I don’t see that happening much because even bison’s taken a long time. Like Bison itself is close to beef; it’s not super gamey. You can actually make a bison prime rib roast and cut that like beef and it’s fantastic, and bison tenderloin is fantastic. But even that’s been… I think it just started to get kind of popular when I was at a place called Green Gates, and that was twenty years ago.
JANIS THIESSEN: The various regulations that control how and where Indigenous food can be produced for public consumption occasionally work in Watson’s favour, however.
STEVEN WATSON: We’ve done events at other places like CanadInns and whatnot. We… Technically, that’s not allowed. You can’t bring in 529 [restaurant] to do catering at CanadInns – health reasons plus business reasons. But also… But because there’s exemptions for “ethnic” foods. So we fall under “ethnic” food. I know, it’s kind of funny. So we fall under the “ethnic” regulations. So we can go in there and do the food legally, because we’re “ethnic.” And meanwhile, we’re actually far more local than CanadInns is, right.
JANIS THIESSEN: Indigenous peoples on this continent had developed complex agricultural systems prior to European contact. They were building clam gardens more than 3500 years ago on the western coast.8 The Three Sisters – a system of inter-planting corn, beans, and squash – yielded more energy and protein from the land than did monoculture planting.9 In fact, Indigenous farming techniques were more productive than those of either settler grain farmers or Europeans in the 17th and 18th centuries.10
STEVEN WATSON: Quite sophisticated for thousands of years ago. So we figure that they would have done certain things like maybe we’re doing here, like taking potatoes and squishing them and frying them in duck fat. You know, reducing sauces for more flavour, or adding certain herbs and different things to foods – like we’re going to burn some sage and that’s going to be a garnish for our stew. Because burned sage is traditional in smudging, so we take that and apply it to actual food and we add a bit of an emotional side, a bit of a spiritual side as well.
JANIS THIESSEN: Chef Watson consults with Indigenous elders about whether it’s appropriate for him to use sage and other traditional plants in these ways. For Indigenous students, this culinary usage can be very meaningful because of the connection to smudging.
JANIS THIESSEN: So I find this very interesting, that your approach is part creative, part historical research, and part consultations with community elders. And particularly what you were mentioning about sage. So are there other aspects of cooking that have a spiritual component for you or for those in your community?
STEVEN WATSON: Tobacco is another one, and we use that often. There’s actually a little bit in there [in the bison]. What we do is the same idea. For smudgings and whatnot, and actually the Three Sisters I mentioned used to be the Four Sisters, because tobacco was part of it. But tobacco is more of a spiritual side, not really a food, right? So it was often – not ignored, but pushed to the wayside in terms of food. So it became the Three Sisters. So what we’ll do often is actually make things with the Four Sisters.
JANIS THIESSEN: Sage has significance in many Indigenous cultures in present-day Canada. Sage is the sacred plant that Nanabozho was given to address his fears, and it is a traditional medicine burned in smudging ceremonies.11 It can be particularly emotional.
STEVEN WATSON: And then, we have some fun [sound of blowtorch being lit]. So part of this, again, is to bring another aspect of what cultures have done, is they bring emotion into food.
Emotion is tied to food, food is tied to emotion. Smells. You smell something, and it reminds you of your grandmother forty years ago. Or you smell something that reminds you of a dinner you had somewhere else. Whatever. And it’s tied to that. So if we can burn some sage, and it brings somebody back to something, we’re doing something that people love.
JANIS THIESSEN: Modern techniques, modern presentation, but pre-contact ingredients. Watson notes that the recent culinary trend of molecular gastronomy plays with scents. He mentions that the Chicago restaurant Alinea, for example, uses particular scents to evoke particular times and locations while also adding a subtle taste.
STEVEN WATSON: And we burn some sage [sound of blowtorch].
JANIS THIESSEN: Watson burns sage and wafts its smoke over the slow-roasted bison.
STEVEN WATSON: It’s funny, because I was doing this before I read about that. And I was like, “Hey! That’s kind of like what we do, too.” Right, so it adds flavour by adding something that you don’t even really eat. So a smell [blows out flame of blowtorch] is more tied to flavour, and what we love, than taste is.
JANIS THIESSEN: Smell is evocative of memory. Reimagining Indigenous cuisine, reconnecting with pre-contact ingredients, can be a way of sharing memories, of recovering history that was disrupted by colonialism.
STEVEN WATSON: My grandmother is a Sinclair, or was a Sinclair. So she’s – and I didn’t know it, at all. She was raised Catholic, just before the Sixties Scoop. So residential school and all kinds of things there. She was never one of the sad, sad stories. There’s a lot of terrible stories, but she was – She was taken away from her family, and that’s a bad part. But the school was fine; they treated her nicely and all that kind of stuff, so she was okay, in that sense. But I knew more about Catholicism… I grew up in Thompson – didn’t grow up in Thompson, but lived in Thompson for a big chunk of my life – and that’s where we went to church every Sunday, went to midnight mass on Christmas eve. And even the city here, when she moved to the city [of Winnipeg], years after my parents did, we’d go to her place for Christmas eve, and then she’d take us all to midnight mass and whatnot. And then realized just the past few years ago that there’s a reason why, that I don’t know that Indigenous side. It’s because she didn’t. It was taken. So what can we do to give that back a little bit? And this is part of it. Because I’m not in politics, I’m not… I am a teacher, but in food; I’m not a college professor or anything like that. What can we do? And this is part of it, that we can give back, we can do more, and we can give some education about this that is sorely lacking.
JANIS THIESSEN: The impact of colonialism on Indigenous people in Canada is ongoing. Canada’s first Indian Residential School took in students in 1834. By the 1960s, there were more than 90 such schools across Canada. Thousands of Indigenous children who were compelled by the state to attend these schools never made it out alive. Many children suffered physical or sexual abuse at these schools. Some were subjected to nutritional experiments without their consent or knowledge.12 These children were separated from their families, their languages, their spiritual practices, and their culture – with significant consequences for subsequent generations. These impacts persist long after the closure of the last residential school in 2000, the federal government’s apology in 2008, and the release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015.13
STEVEN WATSON: Kind of getting back to, I guess, my grandmother. I’m not even a spiritual person myself, but I feel like I owe something because she lost that part. It’s not like she lead a bad life because of it, but she missed something that she might have wanted a piece of her, right? And my whole family lost that, too.
JANIS THIESSEN: Through his cooking, Watson is not trying to revive a pre-contact cuisine but imagine how it would have developed in a modern context if the process of its development had not been interrupted by the colonial state. The goal is not to produce food that is of interest solely to historians, but food that people will enjoy.
JANIS THIESSEN: I find this very interesting. So much historical cooking, the focus is on authenticity – whatever the heck that means – and not so much on “Does anyone now actually want to eat this stuff?” And so the way that you are combining these two is really, very interesting.
STEVEN WATSON: And I had a fascination with that, in the historical side, and doing things that way. I bought a book, I think it’s Historical Heston Blumenthal, it’s called. And he would do the dish, he would do it both ways. And that’s kind of what I applied here. He would take a steak and kidney pie, and literally do it from a 17th-century recipe, the exact same way, in the exact same style of oven and pan and all that kind of stuff. And then he would do it the way he would do it in his restaurant.
JANIS THIESSEN: Chef Watson would like to do more to educate the public about this approach to Indigenous cooking. But it is much more expensive to prepare bison reductions than to make a roux with butter and flour to thicken a sauce. While Commonwealth College does catering at cost, not everyone can afford to pay for the ingredients used.14 This has somewhat limited Watson’s reach.
STEVEN WATSON: Sometimes there’s frustration in that. And hopefully some of it’s becoming a little bit better, but for the most part you see just food going up and up and up, right? So basically, like even pickerel right now used to be dirt cheap. Even five dollars a pound is ridiculously low. So now you’re getting ten to fifteen dollars a pound. So yeah, there’s definitely that part, because the frustration is the business side. If we had a backer who had millions of dollars and just wanted to spread the word and didn’t care how much it cost, we’d be just doing this all over the damn place, right? But yeah, but when the goal is education, the business side interferes.
JANIS THIESSEN: Watson has many menu ideas, and many dreams. Pickerel with sumac and wild chives, served on a wild rice cake with potato and duck fat and onion. Cooking Indigenous cuisine over open fires at Spirit Island at The Forks in Winnipeg. Growing native plants in Assiniboine Park. Serving his 1491 menu as a guest chef at Raw Almond, the winter pop-up restaurant on the frozen junction of the Red and Assiniboine rivers. His creativity and ambition match that of some of the world’s top chefs, like René Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen. But Watson also has a mission.
JANIS THIESSEN: There’s a lot of parallels here between you and someplace like Noma [restaurant], except that this is better [laughs] in that Noma’s trying to experiment and recover local foods, but there isn’t also an historical and a justice component in quite the same way.
STEVEN WATSON: No, and when I was saying that a lot of kitchens have the strict research centre, that’s one of them. For six months out of the year, they do nothing but test. And I follow them on Instagram and stuff, and they often will just show stuff from the testing kitchen. But yeah, and it’s kind of similar in that way. They very much are local. They’ll use foods that people didn’t know were foods.
JANIS THIESSEN: A key difference, of course, is that Noma’s René Redzepi has no problem finding backers willing to fund such experimentation.
STEVEN WATSON: René Redzepi, he has basically unlimited… He can go to anybody with money and say “Give me money,” and they’ll give it to him. I would if I had money. If I won a Super Seven lottery or whatever it’s called now – LottoMax – I’d probably fund something like that myself, just for the ability to go and actually do it with them, or try it out, or whatever. So hopefully there’s somebody like that here. Not necessarily one really rich guy, but a Band, or a subsidy. Or even if we could – like somebody in the government could subsidize so that it becomes the same price as regular foods or whatever. So that bison costs the same as beef, or whatever. If we can get something there, whether it’s government or individual or a group of people or a Band, just to spread that information. Because like I said, it’s not a – I wouldn’t be starting this to make money. I’d easily make more money just by opening a restaurant that sells burgers [laughs]. I can do pretty good burgers. I did the burger at Brazen Hall that won Burger Week, not this past year but the year before. So I mean, I can do those things, right? And this is not going to fly like a burger. This is not going to do a… We’re not going to have a week like they have Fried Chicken Week or Burger Week. We’re not going to do that in the next twenty, thirty years.
JANIS THIESSEN: It may take decades, but Watson is in this for the long haul. As part of Commonwealth College’s Culinary Arts program, he has opened teaching kitchens on reserves in Sioux Lookout, Ste. Theresa Point, and Wasagamack to train Indigenous youth. These young chefs will teach people the history of Indigenous food and join Watson in reimagining it for the future.
STEVEN WATSON: We want to tie some emotion into there too, because that’s a big part of Indigenous food – emotion and spiritual. So if we can do that, we will. At the same time, something that people would want to eat. Not something that… “Oh, that’s good for 500 years old” but “No, that’s really good,” regardless of if they know the story behind it.
KENT DAVIES: You have been listening to Preserves: A Manitoba Food History Podcast, produced by myself Kent Davies; written and narrated by Janis Thiessen, hosted by Janis Thiessen and myself; our theme music is by Robert Kenning. Preserves is recorded at the University of Winnipeg Oral History Centre. You can check out the OHC and all the work we do at oralhistorycentre.ca. For more Manitoba Food History Project content, information, and events go to manitobafoodhistory.ca. We’re also on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. If you have a Manitoba food story and you want to share, contact us by clicking on the Contact link on our website. Preserves is made possible by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
3 George C. Briley, “A History of Refrigeration,” 100 Years of Refrigeration: A Supplement to ASHRAE Journal, American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (November 2004): S31-S34; Susanne Freidberg, “Freshness from Afar: The Colonial Roots of Contemporary Fresh Foods,” Food & History 8, 1 (2010): 257-78.
4 Wendy Moss and Elaine Gardner-O’Toole, Aboriginal People: History of Discriminatory Laws ; Leo G. Waisberg and Tim E. Holzkamm, “‘A Tendency to Discourage Them from Cultivating’: Ojibwa Agriculture and Indian Affairs Administration in Northwestern Ontario,”Ethnohistory 40, 2 (Spring 1993): 175-211.
5 “First Nations were first farmers in Manitoba,” Manitoba Co-operator (4 July 2016); Catherine Flynn and E. Leigh Syms, “Manitoba’s First Farmers,” Manitoba History 31 (Spring 1996) ; Shannon VanRaes, “Treaty rights to farm were not fulfilled,” Manitoba Co-operator (3 March 2015); Sarah Carter, Lost Harvests: Prairie Indian Reserve Farmers and Government Policy (Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1990), 209-13, 253.
7 Murray McNeill, “New plant would be a reel asset,” Winnipeg Free Press (31 May 2016): B5; “St. Laurent hoping to revive pans for fish processor,” Manitoba Fishing; “Province of Manitoba withdrawals from Freshwater Fish Marketing Act,” Fisher River Cree Nation.
8 Emily Chung, “Indigenous clam farming technology is as old as Egyptian pyramids,” CBC News (27 February 2019); Nicole F. Smith, Dana Lepofsky, Ginevra Toniello, Keith Holmes, Louie Wilson, Christina M. Neudorf, Christine Roberts, “3500 years of shellfish mariculture on the Northwest Coast of North America,” PLoS ONE 14, 2 (27 February 2019).
9 Robin Wall Kimmerer, “The Three Sisters” in Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2013), 128-140; Jane Mt. Pleasant, “Food Yields and Nutrient Analyses of the Three Sisters: A Haudensaunee Cropping System,” Ethnobiology Letters 7, 1 (2016): 87-98.
10 Jane Mt. Pleasant, “The Paradox of Plows and Productivity: An Agronomic Comparison of Cereal Grain Production under Iroquois Hoe Culture and European Plow Culture in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries,” Agricultural History 85, 4 (Fall 2011): 460-492.
11 Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants (Minneapolis: Milkweed Editions, 2013), 212; Vanessa Watts, “Smudge This: Assimilation, State-Favoured Communities and the Denial of Indigenous Spiritual Lives,” Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies 7,1 (2016): 151, 159-60.
12 Dian Million, “Telling secrets: sex, power and narratives in Indian Residential School histories,” Canadian Woman Studies 20, 2 (Summer 2000): 92-104; Ian Mosby, “Administering Colonial Science: Nutrition Research and Human Biomedical Experimentation in Aboriginal Communities and Residential Schools, 1942-1952,” Histoire sociale/Social history 46, 91 (May 2013): 145-172.
13 Phil Fontaine, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada staff, and Aimée Craft, A Knock on the Door: The Essential History of Residential Schools from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation and University of Manitoba Press, 2016).
Preserves is made possible by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and assistance from the Oral History Centre at the University of Winnipeg.