Native American Week Part 1

In honor of Indigenous People Day, we celebrated various Native American tribes at the toddler/preschool age program at Lilypad. The children and their adults looked at pictures of children from different nations including Zuni and Oneida to Nez Perce and Taino, and lots of animals and landscapes. We read The Story of the Milky Way-A Cherokee Tale by Joseph Bruchac and Gayle Ross and looked through the book Native Homes by Bobbi Kalman, which lead to some building of our own with blocks.

When we read about igloos, we learned that despite there being a fire in the igloo, the food was served raw. Some of the kids were disgusted and then surprised to find out that the raspberries we were about to eat were also raw! The other snack we had was not raw, but also not as exciting to everyone: Stew Seminole Inspired Possum Grape Dumplings from A Kid’s Guide to Native American History, which might be my new favorite book. Some thought they were meatballs, others maybe thought they looked like mini brains, but one little guy couldn’t stop eating them. Everyone was happy to share!

Stew Seminole-Inspired Possum Grape Dumplings

2 cups of flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon melted butter

A pretty big jar of grape juice (you will use all of it!)

Tools: apron (grape juice stains!), mixing bowl, large pot, wooden spoon,

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt together in the mixing bowl with your wooden spoon.

Add the melted butter and 1 cup of grape juice. Mix together and form dough. It will be purple!

Pour the rest of the grape juice into the large pot and bring that to a boil on the stove.

Rip off pieces of dough and make into balls.

Drop the dough balls into the boiling grape juice. This will turn them into dumplings.

When the dumplings rise to the top of the grape juice, remove them with the wooden spoon.

Place the dumplings in a bowl and let them cool off. Once all the dumplings are removed, pour the leftover grape juice onto the dumplings.

Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Eat right away or keep them in the fridge for a few days. Enjoy!


Native American Week Part 2

Today we had six young people participate at the after school program at Lilypad and four of them were brand new. We read the book Nimoshom and His Bus by Penny M. Thomas and learned some helpful Cree words, such as “api” (sit down), “kinapi” (hurry up) and “mots” (no). It was fun to listen to the kids try to use these words with English and Spanish. We also looked at First People by David C. King to locate a picture of a beaver for our clay project and check out more pictures of pueblos.

Mostly everyone said “mots” to the grape dumplings that were also served on Monday, but all said “ehe” (yes) to trying fry bread with grape jelly. And everyone said “ekosani” (thank you!)

Navajo Fry Bread

Makes about 14 pieces

2 cups of all purpose flour, plus flour for your hands

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups warm water

2 cups of shortening

Tools: mixing bowl, wooden spoon, skillet, tongs or something to flip bread while in the skillet, paper towels

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly add water.

Once it is somewhat together, mix with your hands until dough isn’t sticky outside of the bowl, putting flour on your hands if needed. Knead for a few minutes, because kneading is fun.

With floury hands, rip off a piece of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball and poke a hole in the center.

Heat the shortening in a skillet on high. Depending on the size of your skillet, you might be able to fit four pieces of bread into the shortening at one time. Fry for about a minute and then using the tongs, flip the bread over. The bread will puff up a few inches, but don’t worry, it’s cooking!

After a minute on the other side, use your tongs to remove the bread and place it on a paper towel to drain. Eat plain or with jam and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from here.