Anishinabeg Miijim - Anishinabeg Foods - Mary Lynn Speaks

The primary foods of the Anishinaabeg were taken from the land and waters where we lived.   Fish was the main food but we did eat meat by hunting for moose, bear, deer, fowl and other small game animals.  In the spring and summer we farmed by planting corn, squash and beans but we also gathered acorns, berries, wild rice and other plants. Plants and meats were dried and stored to be used thru the long winter ahead.   Since the Anishinaabeg were a nomadic people, we made use of all parts of the animals and plants.  Animal hides were use to make clothing and moccasins, and the bones were used for tools and ornaments.  We also used every part of the plants making teas and medicines from leaves and roots.  The plants roots were eaten for food like cattail root are a taste vegetable and the leaves were used to make mats for our lodges and are still being made and used this very day.  Berries are good eating fresh or dried and added much flavor to soups and meats.   Berries were also useful in the making of medicines to dying baskets. The blueberry also called the star berry a gift from our Creator to ease hunger in hard times.  The juice is use to relieve coughs also used in dying cloth and baskets.   Berries are used in cooking dried or fresh they add a lot of flavor and vitamins.    The cranberry was used as a poultice to draw poison from cuts to arrow wounds; It too can be used for dying cloth, rugs and blankets.   Cranberries are mixed with venison to make pemmican which we eat to this day and each family has a special recipe.    

Medicines are also derived from trees the wood or leafs which can be boiled for tea to treat many ailments.  You may ask why Anishinaabeg people adopted this life style.  Our belief is the Creator place us here to care for our Mother the Earth and to enjoy the gifts she shares with us. We follow nature’s path harvesting and hunting not depleting our natural resources making sure there will be some for future generations to come.  You may wonder why I wrote this little history lesson but I believe it lets you know the things I care about and what I’ll be writing about. So I am hoping to be helpful in answering any questions you have.