06 April 2016

Three E's Events

Events.  Effects.  Eats.  Bonus day, three words beginning with the letter E.  In Indian country, there’s always events happening somewhere most every day.  Some involve lots of people and some only a few.  And one effect of all these events is that one invariably eats.

Might only be coffee and donuts, or what is known as a continental breakfast in some parts of the world and/or a full three to forty course meal, known sometimes as potluck.  Now, everyone in Indian country knows that these are usually chances to show off cooking skills, unless, of course, one is a member of a tribe that can afford to have their events catered.

Now, I do know that there is a difference in how meals are eaten between the Indian and non-Indian world.  We, generally, have mostly “finger foods” with maybe something that needs a fork or spoon, such as mashed potatoes and gravy, or soup of some kind.  So, at most events, Indian parents and grandparents are trying to quietly teach their child “Proper Eating Skills” whilst the child is generally only interested in having fun. Of course, nowadays, we as a people, are much more aware of those things considered “Proper.”  Generally, not having anything to do with our way of life.  By which, I mean, in the old days, each person had their own eating utensils, bowl, spoon, knife, and took care of these themselves.  Only the big stuff was taken care of by everyone, like the cooking pans.  The rest was generally roasted in individual portions or easily broken apart.

Etiquette, oh, another E word.  Yea!  Etiquette demands that one also learn great patience when one is terribly hungry.  Cause most of us wait til the big event before eating for the day.  First up, “invocation.”  Then standing in line for Elders, honored guests and visitors to eat first.  And those lines can get pretty long when there are hundreds ahead of one.

The children learn how to be quiet at the same time as they are trying very hard to stand still.  Then’s when it’s mighty convenient to have another adult or two bring food to the table for the littles.  Then it’s the parents turn to exercise patience if the child has decided that he’s had enough to eat and wants to play.  Oh, I remember those days well.

Five to seven children all being settled in their chairs, making sure each had their spoon, or fork.  Cutting up any meat into bite size pieces.  Then, visiting as quickly as possible whilst keeping one eye on the silent children and turning with mixed feelings when the children started talking, getting noisier.  Ahhh!  Happy dance when all the kids have finished eating and are sent outside to play.  Aaafter carrying their paper plates and stuff to the garbage.

What!  Did I not mention that a staple for eating events is paper plates, plastic utensils and paper cups.  Supposed to be easier to clean up.  Yeah!


  1. That sound familiar. We have people over for dinner regularly and I'm always so busy making sure our kids are taken care of that I have a difficult time visiting.

    Crystal Collier

  2. This is so cool! It was so nice learning about Indian culture in this post!


Comments may or may not be accepted. Remember, there may be children reading my blog as it is public. Miigwetch. Thanks.