NRAEF : Blog

Celebrating National Native American Heritage Month

by | Nov 16, 2020 | Blog Post |

November is National Native American Heritage Month, and every year we reflect on how Native Americans enhance the restaurant industry. It is an honor to appreciate the rich culture, flavors and traditions indigenous people have brought to the table.

We are celebrating this month in the best way we know how: food! Here are a few of our favorite cookbooks that shine a spotlight on the legacy, spectacular dishes and stories of indigenous cuisine.



Sean Sherman’s The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen 


With 30 years of culinary experience and studying Native American food systems, Sean Sherman focuses on the revitalization of indigenousness cuisine in his cookbook The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen. Chef Sherman brings out the traditions of Native American culture and dispels prior expectations. This cookbook fully embraces the flavors of rabbit, trout, duck, quail, wild turkey, blueberries, sage, sumac, wild turnip, plums, purslane, and abundant wildflowers. This contemporary take on the indigenous cuisine of the Dakota and Minnesota territories is rich in both taste and history.

Sean Sherman, Oglala Lakota, was born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and has dedicated his career to raising awareness about indigenous food in the modern culinary industry. He opened his business, The Sioux Chef, as a caterer and educator in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area in 2014. The Sioux Chef created a nonprofit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NATIFS), and the first Indigenous Food Lab restaurant and training center in Minneapolis is on the way!

Chef Lois Ellen Frank’s Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations



If you are looking for a way to incorporate indigenous food into your healthy eating routine, Foods of the Southwest Indian Nations is a great place to start! Native American-food expert and photographer Chef Louis Ellen Frank provides more than 80 flavorful recipes to try in this cookbook. With the help of Navajo Nation tradesman Walter Whitewater and four years of visiting reservations in the Southwest, Frank adapted traditional recipes into modern dishes.

Chef Frank has been revitalizing the way we experience indigenous Native American cuisines since the 1980s. She has a catering company that focuses on using ancestral ingredients and techniques in a modern and fresh way.


Fernando and Marlene Divina’s Foods of the Americas


In association with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian, Fernando and Marlene Divina explore the cultural significance of food for Native Americans in Foods of the Americas. Its 140 modern recipes come from North, Central and South America, representing many tribes and communities from across the Americas. You will find yourself using traditional indigenous ingredients to recreate these dishes, including salmon, buffalo, berries, acorns, corn, and more.

This cookbook includes nine short essays by Native American writers that dive into a variety of food traditions from these cultures. Enjoy the rich, delicious flavors as you learn about the Native American contribution to today’s culinary industry.


Roxanne Swentzell and Patricia M Peara’s The Pueblo Food Experience Cookbook


Experience into the culture of the Pueblo peoples of New Mexico with Roxanne Swentzell and Patricia M. Perea through The Pueblo Food Experience Cookbook! Promoting healing and balance, the recipes use chemical-free meat, fowl, fish, whole grains, nuts, fruits and veggies. Additionally, the cookbook features five essays that expand upon Pueblo history and culture.

This cookbook is a product of the authors’ non-profit Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute. Founded in 1987 in Santa Clara Pueblo, the organization offers classes about healthy lifestyles using the concepts of Permaculture.


Dolly Watts And Annie Watts’s Where People Feast



Dolly and Annie Watts are more than just a mother-daughter duo. They work together to spread the joys of Native American culture, food and history through writing and culinary creation alike. Their cookbook Where People Feast provides recipes like Smoked Salmon Mousse, Alder-Grilled Breast of Pheasant, Blackberry-Glazed Beets, and many others that will make your mouth water.


Dolly and Annie Watts run a Native American fine dining restaurant called Liliget Feast House in Vancouver. The fantastic establishment received a four-star rating from The New York Times!



In honor of National Native American Heritage Month, we’re giving away FREE cookbooks to two lucky winners! Enter our giveaway by telling us which cookbook you want on our Facebook post here. Tag a friend in the comments for an extra entry!

Note: This giveaway period ends November 30 at 11:59 a.m. EST.

Latest Blog Posts

PODCAST – ProStart: Educating Tomorrow’s Industry Leaders

Chef Patrick Phelan, 2023 ProStart® Teacher of the Year, shares insights on mentoring the next generation of restaurant workers and the value of the ProStart Program’s hands-on curriculum! Phelan was just recognized on-stage during the 2023 National ProStart Invitational in Washington, DC.