DAVIS — November is Native American Heritage Month, and the community of Davis is highlighting the indigenous culture through art exhibits and cooking classes.
From artwork to jewelry to food, the stories of the indigenous people of California can be realized through many different mediums.
“This is the teaching kitchen here at the co-op, we teach a lot of folks how to do things, and we also teach ourselves,” Christine Ciganovich said.
Ciganovich is a marketing specialist who hosts cooking classes through the Davis Food Co-Op.
“We learn so much and get to experience so much through other foods and cultures,” she said.
This month, she is focusing on cooking with native North American ingredients.
“Wild rice is a native North American plant, and it has a different flavor profile,” she said. “It’s nuttier. It’s chewier. You also have that dark color so you’re getting a different variety of nutrients, as well.”
From grains and nuts to native North American fruits, like cranberries, many of these items are staples around the Thanksgiving table.
“The acorn not only takes care of the four-legged but the two-legged,” Amezcua Porras of the Davis International House said. “It’s not only used as food, it’s used as medicine, used as regalia.”
At the Davis International House, the community was invited to participate in a cooking and conversations demonstration with indigenous cultural practitioners Monique Sonoquie and U’ilani Moore-Wesely.
Food provided by the “aunties,” as they are referred to, along with art and jewelry created by Yaqui artist Stan Padilla facilitate both peace and wisdom of generations of indigenous people from around the region.
“It holds so many stories for the California indigenous peoples and tribes fighting so hard through policy work, through justice work, and reminds us that they are still here, and we are still here as relatives,” Porras said.
Padilla’s work will be on display at the Davis International House through December. The UC Davis Co-Op is holding several cooking classes through the holiday season.