How well we know the stereotype of the rugged Plains Indian: killer of buffalo, dressed in quill-decorated buckskin, elaborately feathered eaddress, and leather moccasins, living in an animal skin teepee, master of the dog and horse, and stranger to vegetables. But this lifestyle, once limited almost exclusively to the Apaches, flourished no more than a couple hundred years. It is not representative of most Native Americans of today or yesterday. Indeed, the "buffalo-as-lifestyle" phenomenon is a direct result of European influence, as we shall see.
Among my own people, the Choctaw Indians of Mississippi and Oklahoma, vegetables are the traditional diet mainstay. A French manuscript of the eighteenth century describes the Choctaws' vegetarian leanings in shelter and food. The homes were constructed not of skins, but of wood, mud, bark and cane. The principal food, eaten daily from earthen pots, was a vegetarian stew containing corn, pumpkin and beans. The bread was made from corn and acorns. Other common favorites were roasted corn and corn porridge. (Meat in the form of small game was an infrequent repast.) The ancient Choctaws were, first and foremost, farmers. Even the clothing was plant based, artistically embroidered dresses for the women and cotton breeches for the men. Choctaws have never adorned their hair with feathers.
The rich lands of the Choctaws in present-day Mississippi were so greatly coveted by nineteenth century Americans that most of the tribe was forcibly removed to what is now called Oklahoma. Oklahoma was chosen both because it was largely uninhabited and because several explorations of the territory had deemed the land barren and useless for any purpose. The truth, however, was that Oklahoma was so fertile a land that it was an Indian breadbasket. That is, it was used by Indians on all sides as an agricultural resource. Although many Choctaws suffered and died during removal on the infamous "Trail of Tears", those that survived built anew and successfully in Oklahoma, their agricultural genius intact.
George Catlin, the famous nineteenth century Indian historian, described the Choctaw lands of southern Oklahoma in the 1840's this way: "...the ground was almost literally covered with vines, producing the greatest profusion of delicious grapes,...and hanging in such endless clusters... our progress was oftentimes completely arrested by hundreds of acres of small plum trees...every bush that was in sight was so loaded with the weight of its...fruit, that they were in many instances literally without leaves on their branches, and quite bent to the ground... and beds of wild currants, gooseberries, and (edible) prickly pear." (Many of the "wild" foods Anglo explorers encountered on their journeys were actually carefully cultivated by Indians.)
Many of the Choctaw foods cooked at celebrations even today are vegetarian. Corn is so important to us it is considered divine. Our corn legend says that is was a gift from Hashtali, the Great Spirit. Corn was given in gratitude because Choctaws had fed the daughter of the Great Spirit when she was hungry. (Hashtali is literally "Noon Day Sun". Choctaws believe the Great Spirit resides within the sun, for it is the sun that allows the corn to grow!)
Another Choctaw story describes the afterlife as a giant playground where all but murderers are allowed. What do Choctaws eat in "heaven"? Their sweetest treat, of course: melons, a never-ending supply.
More than one tribe has creation legends which describe people as vegetarian, living in a kind of Garden of Eden. A Cherokee legend describes humans, plants, and animals as having lived in the beginning in "equality and mutual helpfulness". The needs of all were met without killing one another. When man became aggressive and ate some of the animals, the animals invented diseases to keep human population in check. The plants remained friendly, however, and offered themselves not only as food to man, but also as medicine, to combat the new diseases.
More tribes were like the Choctaws than were different. Aztec, Mayan, and Zapotec children in olden times ate 100% vegetarian diets until at least the age of ten years old. The primary food was cereal, especially varieties of corn. Such a diet was believed to make the child strong and disease resistant. (The Spaniards were amazed to discover that these Indians had twice the life-span they did.) A totally vegetarian diet also insured that the children would retain a life-long love of grains, and thus, live a healthier life... CONTINUES @ http://nexusilluminati.blogspot.com.au/2012/02/native-americans-and-vegetarianism.html
Believe me there is only one me. Ok maybe one or two other people with my name but I'm the only Choctaw Indian woman named Andrea Tubby in Chicago that has been a cab dispatcher forever and is kind of a nerd. At least I hope I am. If there is another Andrea with all those qualifications and has better credit, I'd like to know ;-)
- HAROLD WASHINGTON COLLEGE-CITY COLLEGES OF CHICAGOASSOCIATE OF SCIENCE, 2010 - present
- TRUMAN MIDDLE COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL1988 - 1990
- LAKEVIEW HIGH SCHOOL1985 - 1987
- JOHN V. LEMOYNE SCHOOL1976 - 1985
- AMERICAN UNITED TAXI AFF.CALLTAKER/DISPATCHER, 2009 - present
- AMERICAN UNITED CAB ASSNDISPATCHER, 2004 - 2009
- CHICAGO CARRIAGE CAB-ROYAL CCC CABDISPATCHER, 2003 - 2004
- CHICAGO MESSENGER SERVICEDISPATCH ASSISTANT, 2002 - 2003
- AMERICAN UNITED CAB ASSNDISPATCHER, 1997 - 2002
- BLUE RIBBON CAB CODISPATCHER, 1997 - 1997
- FLASH CAB COCALLTAKER /DISPATCHER, 1991 - 1997