I wanted to dedicate the rest of November to learning about the First Nations of North America. I remember when I was in school for early ch...

Read and Rise Book Club 'Fry Bread' - November 2020 Week 1

I wanted to dedicate the rest of November to learning about the First Nations of North America. I remember when I was in school for early childhood education I had to do a guest lesson in a preschool classroom as one of my assignments. It was November so I chose to teach the children about Native Americans - not the "Thanksgiving" story, not about Native Americans hundreds of years ago, but about present day Native Americans. I realized that in preschool, no one ever talked about Native Americans aside from the inaccurate traditional first Thanksgiving story. And so the children probably didn't even realize there were still Native Americans living in the United States today! 


After that first lesson I learned a little more year after year and my Thanksgiving lessons quickly transitioned to learning about Native Americans and simply talking about gratitude. I got rid of all my "first Thanksgiving" books and replaced them with books by Native authors, books about being thankful, and one or two silly turkey stories (we all need to throw a super silly book into the mix now and then!). 


I'm going to kick off our celebration of First Nations with a book called "Fry Bread" by Kevin Noble Maillard. Kevin is originally from Oklahoma and is an enrolled citizen of the Seminole Nation. Fry bread is a traditional Native American food and I remember trying it at the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington DC but I was wholly unaware of its origin. I discovered that Navajo fry bread originated over 150 years ago when the US government forced Native Americans in Arizona to relocate to New Mexico and gave them canned foods, white flour, processed sugar, and lard so they wouldn't starve. It was from those rations that fry bread was born. 


Today, fry bread has been embraced by tribal nations across the country and I'm sure there are as many ways to make it and eat it as there are nations! So let's read about it and then we can all try to make our own. 


Featured story: "Fry Bread" by Kevin Noble Maillard


Activity: Try making your own fry bread at home! Here is a simple recipe from the Stay at Home Chef - Authentic Indian Fry Bread. You can eat it plain, savory or sweet. Get creative with toppings! I can't wait to see what you come up with!


For more information on the history of fry bread, check out:

Smithsonian Magazine - Fry Bread

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