Join Leah Hopkins (Narragansett/Niantic) and Elizabeth James-Perry (Aquinnah Wampanoag) as they demonstrate and teach about the various traditional Native cooking methods of the Coastal Northeast. Leah and Elizabeth will share the recipes and cooking techniques of their families as well as the nutritional content of traditional foods. They will describe their cultural perspectives on these dishes and speak to the historical influence that Northeastern Native food has had on modern cuisine. This program will have a heavy focus on the tradition of maple sugaring as an important and much-celebrated gift of the early spring.
Leah explains, “We tend to have our own community celebrations and feasts on the full moons……..so March 3 would be the best date, as this is the day after our Maple Sugaring Moon celebrations, and Elizabeth and I do a lot of interesting programming with regards to maple sugaring…. and a cooking demonstration using maple as a staple ingredient.” This will be an indoor event with the cooking on a hotplate instead of an open fire. Due to liability issues, members of the public are not permitted to taste the food.
Known as a culture bearer, educator, traditional artist, and performer Leah Hopkins provides professional programs and performances to both Native and non-Native communities, institutions and organizations. Leah is strongly rooted in her traditions passed down through her parents, grandparents and extended family, resulting in a strong passion for educating Native peoples and facilitating programs to increase cultural competency. Her professional work experience includes the proprietorship of her own cultural consultation business as well many years in the museum and tribal youth education field. Leah is a seamstress and beadwork artist as well as a traditional Eastern Woodlands singer and dancer and a founding member of the Kingfisher Theater. She has performed both nationally and internationally and is looking forward to further traveling to share and educate about her Northeastern Native culture. Growing up near in the bountiful Northeast, Leah has used the many gifts of the ocean, forest and field to provide her family with traditional nutrition, and has been preparing feasts of traditional foods for her community most of her life.
Elizabeth James-Perry is an enrolled member of the Aquinnah Wampanoag Tribe on the island of Noepe (Martha’s Vineyard). Her fine art work focuses on Northeastern Woodlands Algonquian artistic expressions: wampum carving, weaving and natural dyeing. As a member of a Nation that has long lived on and harvested the sea, Elizabeth’s is a perspective that combines art and an appreciation for Native storytelling and traditional environmental knowledge in her ways of relating to coastal North Atlantic life.
The Nolumbeka Project usually holds the annual mid-winter Full Snow Moon Gathering in February, but every 19 years there is no full moon during the month so we moved our celebration to March. This is the explanation of the Full Worm Moon from The Farmer’s Almanac: “At the time of this spring Moon, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.”
This event is co-sponsored by the Nolumbeka Project, DCR, and Jaime and Senani Babson. Poster by Nur Tiven, Spektre Designs