*This blog post was originally published in 2020, but with Rachelle’s permission, we are re-sharing it in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day!
As some of you may know, a very special celebration is tomorrow, National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada!
What is National Indigenous Peoples Day? This is a day that we celebrate and recognize the unique heritage, diverse cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples. Although these groups share many similarities, they each have a distinct heritage, language, cultural practices and spiritual beliefs.
I, Jillian, grew up in Peace River Alberta, where there are various First Nation communities specifically the Dane-zaa tribe, which was formally known as The Beaver tribe.
As a child, (not in my plant-based days lol) I loved snacking on Mennonite sausage, moose jerky, bannock and perogies, these were just a few of my Nothern Alberta faves. Almost every weekend in the summer my mom, dad and I would pack up the camper and head to our favourite campground, the memories of these trips were amazing. But one of my fondest memories was making bannock at night over the fire, slowly pulling it off the stick, filling it with butter and jam and sharing it with family and friends. As most of you know, a few summers ago Justin and I got our very first camper and I can’t wait to continue making bannock over the campfire with Leo and Annie!
Over the last few weeks, our team has been talking a lot about CULTURE, diversity, history and inclusion (and also the lack thereof on this platform), all of us shared personal stories about our upbringing. This lead to a conversation about my love for bannock and how Rachelle, our photographer also used to make this with her Grandfather. The original bannock recipe is tied to Scottish roots but quickly became popular with Métis people and was later adopted by other Indigenous tribes as well. Unfortunately, I learned about the loss of her grandfather and with that some of the recipes, medicines, and family rituals that he took with him when he left.
The culture, diversity, and inclusion on this platform doesn’t end here, later on, this month, or this year. Throughout the year, we will be sharing more information, insight, and history about our land and elevating the Indigenous people and Indigenous voices in our community. Today, on National Indigenous Peoples Day I thought that it would be a great time to share a very special recipe with you that is tied to many childhood memories of mine and is an even more sentimental recipe for our photographer, Rachelle!
I will let her take it from here!
I am Cree, Métis, Scottish and English. My Grandfather was Cree and Métis, my Grandmother is Métis. My Mother is Cree and Métis. My Father is Scottish and English. Growing up I felt stuck between two worlds.
While I was home, in a predominantly white city, I felt ashamed to be Native. I wouldn’t openly speak about my heritage and would feel so embarrassed when my friends would come to my house, where Native artwork was so proudly displayed by my Mother. I was mocked as a child for being a part of a culture that seemed to be the punchline to so many jokes. I was singled out by countless teachers – asked to share with the class any family traditions we had, although they are very private practices… I wouldn’t share much, just enough to satisfy their questions so they would move on.
When I would go to my Grandparents’ house, I felt ashamed to be white. I craved to be “more Native” like many of my relatives. However, being at their house always felt more like ‘home’ than being in my Hometown. I recall countless evenings, after our 3-hour drive, the steps would be shaking, the front door open wide, people hooting and hollering their house was always ALIVE with music. My Grandfather would be playing the fiddle or mandolin, stomping his foot so hard to the beat he was about to wear a hole in the floor – while my Uncles were accompanying him with their guitars and by stomping their feet as well. The second we walked through the door we were swept up by a relative and joined in on the dancing (jigging) and festivities.
Growing up, every meal, event or gathering was accompanied by bannock. Pow Wow grounds were so fragrant with fry oil – you could always find some elder making their family version. My family favoured baked bannock but if I begged long enough I could convince someone to make fry bread for me – the deep-fried, doughy version of this yummy recipe. While family recipes vary slightly, they’re all incredibly simple and similar. Whether you bake it, fry it or cook over the fire, be sure to have butter and jam on hand!
I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! I’d love to know if you have ever made bannock before or if you are going to test this recipe out.