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Vivir es Increible

team1
Triqui/Trique Indian boys basketball team
Picture credit:  Unknown

Orlando was blessed to have many fine young athletes in town this week for a Basketball event, and one of the teams that made the news this morning on our local station, WESH TV was from Mexico.
Nothing new here, or was there?
This team of fairly small boys, as far as basketball players go, played without shoes.
But, this is not unusual for them, as they nearly always do so.

These boys come from one of Mexico’s poorest regions, a tiny place in the mountains of Oaxaca, that range from 4,000 to nearly 10,000 feet and the inhabitants are called the Trique/Triqui people, a blended group of Mixtec,   (place of cloud-people), who are known for their beautiful weavings.

This area and these people, are not new to me, as one of my favorite Anthropology Professors at CSUN, had related his summers there, for the past 20 plus years.
Every year, he would travel down to Oaxaca to spend a month with the people, then wrote and brought back what he learned about them to his students.

Years later, when I traveled to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, I felt that there were strong similarities between it and many places in Oaxaca.
They were both poverty stricken areas, that few outsiders came to and even fewer cared much about.

This young team makes news every time they play, mostly for their lack of shoes, but what people don’t understand is that their lack of shoes, are the least of their worries.
So many where they come from, are desperately poor, with food, shelter and personal safety at the top of their daily wants/needs list, and going without shoes, much lower on it.

Native or Indigenous Mexicans, are at a poverty level of about 80%, compared to the National level in the upper 20’s.

Many of these young players must walk two hours or more, on rough mountain roads just to get to their practices, and Basketball is about the only sport that can be played in such a difficult terrain.

For me personally, the hardest part of relaying this story to all of you, is in knowing that the country where these brave young players live, is in constant turmoil from outside political pressures.

A friend from school traveled down there years ago, quite concerned about the way the people were being treated and was never seen again.

“Accidents” can happen, to those who ask too many questions, or get too curious about local politics.

Just playing their games, must seem like great relief after enduring the conditions that surround them.

Whenever the team travels, they basically have become ambassadors for their people, and the state of Oaxaca, and Global generosity to them and their town, have followed them everywhere.

Their Head Coach Sergio Zuniga, was interviewed by WESH and his pride in their achievements was clearly evident as he spoke.

This week in Orlando, not only was the team gifted with shoes, so was their entire town.

Yes, back home things are very difficult, but as their Team jackets say, ” Vivir es Increible, life is incredible.”

Places to learn more:

Mexican youth basketball team plays shoeless in Orange County tournament

Hoop dreams of Mexico’s indigenous youth provide hope in ‘forgotten’ region

It’s Triqui to play around: Shoeless Mexican team plays exhibition match in LA

Youth Mexican Basketball Team Wins Big Playing Barefoot

Mexican Shoeless Basketball Champions Prove It’s About How You Play, Not What You Have

Trique People – Wikipedia

A History of the Triqui People

 

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Native American Food

cornvarieties   Beans   squash

                     Corn                                                 Beans                                            Squash

(Beans from Veg Kitchen, Squash from California Condor)

For many Indigenous People in the Americas, this triad is called the Three Sisters:

Corn, or Maize, Beans and Squash.

Although this food trinity has a variety of names among Native People, these three staples remain the heart of

most Indigenous diets.

An interesting fact about this Food Trio is that they are all interdependent on one another.

Beans grow up the Corn stalks and add the nutrients (Nitrogen) to the soil that the others need to grow.

Squash is planted in between them to keep weeds out.

All three of these foods originally came from the Indigenous People of Mexico, Central and South America,

then slowly made their way North to our Native People.

A press release announcing recent winners from the Kellogg Foundation:

First Nations Awards $375,000 to 10 Native Food-System Projects

A new page about what makes us who we are:

Native Health Issues

A Brief History of American Native Food

American Natives were reasonably healthy before the European Invasions.

They lived on the land and in some areas cultivated rich soils and grew crops.

For the Bison hunting Nations that were always on the move, their diets were mixtures of the meat that they

hunted and the plants, berries and fruits that were found everywhere that they went.

This country was a bountiful place hundreds of years ago and Native people survived quite nicely.

After the Invasions, everything changed and none of it was good for Natives.

Those who were sent to Reservations starved many times.

Food meant for them often ended up in the hands of unscrupulous agents, who dispersed the supplies to

themselves, their families and friends.

Or just outright sold it for profit.

The Native people in the East were the first to be affected by the European outsiders and their gluttony.

The vast natural and developed Native food supplies were quickly devoured by the new people.

Although saved from starvation by the generosity of Natives, these greedy ones were convinced that this

wondrous new land was theirs to take and use as they pleased, calling it their Manifest Destiny.

When the food supplies in the East began running out, the invaders started moving West.

All across the country, the long Wagon Trains of Pioneers wiped out the natural food sources along the way.

Like Locust, they decimated everything in their path.

As for farming among Native Nations, it became quite difficult to grow or hunt just ahead of oncoming settlers or

an Army.

In the Great Plains, the Natives who refused to go to Reservations were a little better off, for a while.

But, once the Railroads were in place and Buffalo Bill Cody and others killed off nearly the entire Bison

population, there was little food left for the Plains People.

Until the land and Gold Rushes of the 1800’s, most Native People in the far West and Northwest still had adequate natural food sources.

*A personal note*

My People, the Shawnee, were considered very good farmers.

When they arrived at the Reservation in Kansas, the Governor remarked that the Shawnee were the best

farmers that he had ever seen.

What he didn’t know was that before they were shipped off to Kansas, the Shawnee from the Ohio Valley area

had learned many techniques from the local Amish farmers who admired them and even hid many of them after

the great Shawnee leader Tecumseh was killed.

 American Native Food Today

Today, American Natives need only travel to their nearest grocery store to find an abundance of food.

Many Natives do still grow some of their own food, raising geographically relevant crops that help to

sustain their people through the hard times.

Corn, beans and squash are still grown by many Nations, however, very few Native people are successful

commercial farmers as they lack the investment capital to get started.

**Your responses to this statement are quite encouraging,

but please do contact the Tribal Nations directly if you

are interested in investing in Native Farming**

Tribal Nations Home Pages

Southwestern Nations, like the Navajo and Hopis use the Ancient irrigation methods of their

Ancestors to grow a colorful collection of corn.

These Natives harvest cactus, plant vegetables and chilies and raise sheep which are rarely eaten, but provide

the abundance of wool used for their beautiful woven rugs.

Historically, California Natives were unlike most others, they did not grow much of anything to eat, they didn’t

have to, it was already there, all they had to do was take it.

The insulting title of “diggers” was given to these Natives, by outsiders who observed them frequently digging

in the dirt.

The state was rich in nutritious wild roots, bulbs and insects and thousands of California Natives lived very well

on the multitude of fruits, Wild Game, Nuts, Roots and Berries.

Today, with little good land left to raise crops, many Tribes have built Casinos instead to help support their

People.

Several Southern Nations like the Seminoles of Florida, and the Mississippi Band of Choctaws, have Casinos,

raise Cattle and grow a variety of food crops.

Some Tribes in Minnesota harvest wild rice and other related food products both to share with their own people

and also to sell.

Natives in Northern Plains States, like North and South Dakota, Idaho and Montana are raising cattle, while

trying to forge a new future for their children by tapping into the Renewable Energy market with Wind Turbines

and Solar Power.

The Northwest Nations of Washington and Oregon raise Salmon and grow Berries and Grapes and also have

geothermal potential.

Corn, Maple Syrup and wonderful varieties of Apples, Pears, Grapes, Berries, including an abundance of

Cranberries in Massachusetts.

Many Tribes also grow tobacco and cotton, but as they are not food, they were not counted among the Native

Nations crops.

Native Owned Food Businesses

If you are an American Native or Nation with a food business,

please send me your information to be listed on this page:

tahtonka at centurylink.net

The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of South Dakota.

Lakota Foods

White Earth Reservation of Minnesota offers a variety of wild rice products, maple syrup, organic coffee, jams and jellies and many non food products.

Native Harvest Foods

The Skeet Family of Gallup, New Mexico sell Native American Traditional Foods.

Navajo Designs

The Ojibwa people of Red Lake Minnesota who not only grow wild rice, but now ship it all over the world.

Red Lake Nation Foods

Disclaimer * tahtonka.com has no personal knowledge nor connection to any of these businesses.*

American Native Food Web Sites:

A Pyramid of American Native foods.

An American Native Food Guide Pyramid

How the Plains People provided food for themselves.

The Luxton Museum of the Plains People

Indian Health Services

Native American Resources: Food and Nutrition

American Native Recipes

American Native Recipes

Cherokees of California Cookbook

The Cooking Post

Cookin’ with Three Sisters

Eastern North Carolina Native Cooking

Native Recipes from Paula Geise

Native Web Resources: Food

Navajo and Pueblo Native Fry Bread

Pemmican: Recipes, Stories and Stores

Recipe Source: American Native Recipes

 

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