Ancestral food gathering group documents Shoshone foods

Members of the Restoring Shoshone Ancestral Food group: UW assistant professor Jill Keith, Caroline Mills holding chokecherry patties, Carmen Underwood with biscuitroot and Vernetta Pantzetanga with blue bells. (Courtesy photo)

Knowledge about Shoshone use of Shoshone foods is being gathered and traditional methods of gathering and preparing those foods is being preserved by a group on the Wind River Reservation.

Members of the Restoring Shoshone Ancestral Food Gathering group meets each month to collect, process and preserve such foods as yampah root and fireweed.

The group’s efforts were supported in 2018 by a National Institutes for Health grant through the University of Wyoming, to study the effects of Shoshone ancestral foods on health, identity, culture and well-being. The grant assisted community efforts to identify traditional Shoshone foods and how they were used as well as in gathering and processing the foods and preparing recipes for participants.

Key parts of the project have included developing a photo and recipe book documenting the group’s efforts, and creating a traditional foods database. Recipes include teas made from wild berries and fir needles, biscuits made from root plant flour and soups made with wild game such as buffalo, deer and elk.

A health study started in January with participants receiving Shoshone food each week, keeping food diaries and participating in data collection including blood draws.

COVID-19 stopped those measurements in March, but information collected to that time is currently being analyzed. Findings will help determine if consuming traditional Shoshone foods made an impact on the health of participants.



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Rosemary Carr
9 months ago

Thank you for this article. I have been interested in the foods of Native Americans since I read a factual book about the Lewis & Clark expedition. L & C learned so much about healthy supplements/foods from the people they encountered & then sent it, with samples ,to Thomas Jefferson who was a great scientist as well as a political genius.