Many years ago, our Indian ancestors survived by harvesting wild foods like camas, wild onions, and black moss. They often spent weeks in the field digging, cleaning, and processing the foods, then they baked the foods for several days in a traditional earth oven. Nowadays, we can easily buy all our food from the supermarket, but many of us maintain the old food gathering as a way of keeping our ancestral connections alive.
When we cook traditional foods in the ground, we have to tend the surface fires for at least two or three days. During that time, friends and family gather to visit and tell stories.
Francis is my fellow cook. A long time ago, only women were allowed to cook the Indian foods, but the grandmothers in our family have given their blessing for us to cook.
Sunset during one of our cooking days.
One of the best parts of cooking food in the ground is when the elders of our family come to watch. They sit around the fires and tell stories from their personal histories. They're such beautiful people! I feel blessed to have such wonderful elders.
This year the camas came out of the oven just right.
A cross section of camas showing all the layers.
My niece and nephew always help with the baking.
The brown camas just as it came out of the oven.
The black moss was flavored with wild onions.