Thursday, November 20, 2008

Catawba Indians- Turkey Stew

By Melanie Knight- Courtesy of The Lancaster News

Forests have traded their green leaves for a crisp fall wardrobe of gold, red and orange.
As you enjoy in this breathtaking display of natural beauty, take a moment to consider this rich land and its historic people.

The Catawba Indians have lived in this region for more than 13,000 years.
Their traditional foods include turkey, squash, pumpkins, corn, deer, nuts, beans, duck, dove, blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, sugar berries and honey.
So next time you savor any of these traditional Catawba foods, say “huwah” and “koree” which translate to “thanks” and “good.”

Beckee Garris of the Catawba Indian Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Office, said the Catawbas were a close knit, matriarchal community. Extended families lived together in round houses called “suuks” and whenever game like deer was killed, it was shared throughout the village.
“They looked after each other, especially in the 1800s and 1900s,” she said.
Garris said the Catawbas weren’t concerned with material things.

If a young man was trying to impress a young lady he was courting, he would carve a flute out of river cane and compose songs and lyrics for her. When she was out working, he would hide and serenade her from a distance.
“This way, a girl could judge a man by his heart,” Garris said. “If she liked the music, she would have her father or brother bring him to the house. He would then be allowed to play outside the house, but he would not be allowed inside until they were married.”

At the wedding, a blanket dance would be performed.
Garris said in the beginning, the bride and groom would be wrapped in separate blankets. But by the end of the dance, they would be wrapped in the same blanket.
The individual blankets would then be carried behind the new couple and filled with gifts and written blessings.

Congress has designated the annual Yap Ye Iswa festival that celebrates the Catawba Indians’ cultural heritage a local legacy.
This past Saturday, the Catawba Nation celebrated its culture during the annual Yap Ye Iswa (Day of the Catawba) festival at the University of South Carolina at Lancaster.
Activities included Native American dance and drumming demonstrations, displays of Catawba Indian pottery, storytelling and musical performances, lectures on local American Indian history and culture, children’s activities, cooking demonstrations of traditional Native American dishes.
Thanksgiving is the perfect time to share Garris’ recipe for a traditonal Catawba Turkey Stew.
And try the a Corn on the Cob Cupcakes recipe to add a Native American look to the dinner table.

Turkey Stew
3 1-pound cooked turkey roasts
1 16-ounce can whole tomatoes
1 12-ounce package sliced fresh mushrooms
1 pound onions, chopped
1 8-ounce package dried tomatoes
5 pounds white potatoes
1 16-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 clove garlic
3 cans chicken broth
2 bell peppers (optional)
Salt to taste
– Wash and cut vegetables into bite sized pieces. Cut turkey into bite sized pieces. Place all ingredients in slow cookers and fill with water to cover ingredients. Simmer on high until stew begins to bubble.
– Turn cookers on low and cook overnight. Salt to taste.
Makes 12-15 servings.
– Recipe by Beckee Garris of the Catawba Indian Nation Tribal Historic Preservation Office
Corn on the Cob Cupcakes
24 vanilla cupcakes baked in white paper liners
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting
Yellow food coloring
About 3 1/2 cups small jelly beans (Jelly Bellys) in assorted yellow, cream and white colors (red, black and blue shades for Indian corn)
Optional decorations:
4 pieces yellow fruit chews (Laffy Taffys, Starbursts)
1 tablespoon each black and white decorating sugars (available at baking supply stores)
8 sets of corn holders
– Tint the vanilla frosting pale yellow with the food coloring. Working with three cupcakes at a time, spread yellow frosting on top of each. Arrange about 5 rows of jelly beans, close together, on each cupcake. Place the 3 cupcakes side-by-side on a corn dish or a serving platter. Repeat with the remaining cupcakes, frosting and jelly beans.
– Optional: Cut the fruit chews into eight 1-inch squares and soften the edges slightly by hand so that they look melted. Place one square on top of each group of 3 cupcakes. Sprinkle with the sugars. Insert 1 corn holder, in each of the end cupcakes. Makes eight “ears of corn” (24 cupcakes).
– Recipe from “Hello, Cupcake!” by Alan Richardson and Karen Tack

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