September 8, 2007

Welcome to my very first post on Mi'kmaw recipes


First of all, I'd like to thank you for visiting my blog. I hope to share some recipes I have gathered over the last few years. I was hoping to publish some of these recipes but things have not worked out that way for different reasons. I would still like to share a large collection of recipes that I have gathered from the Native community, mainly Mi'kmaq. I would like to get some feedback on what types of recipes you would most likely to use or enjoy. I will try and list at least one recipe every day or every other day. My first recipe will be something all Mi'kmaw people have enjoyed for a long time and that is the 4 cents cake. This contribution is from Mi'kmaq culinary expert and professional guide, Elder Gilbert Sewell of Pabineau First Nation, NB. I would like to thank Gilbert for his contributions to the Mi'kmaq Heritage Cookbook project.

4 Cents cake - Lusgnign
By Gilbert Sewell - Professional Guide and Culinary Expert


Baking Powder (Preferably a new can)
Corn Oil


Place 3 cups of flour in a bowl . Add three tablespoons of baking powder. Add a small salt packet, and one sugar packet. Pour in 3 cups of cold spring water. Make sure the dough is nice and heavy. Before you mix, place corn oil in an electric frying pan at 150 to 170 degrees. You must place dough in a sizzling pan. Spread with a spoon until flat. Cook for 7 minutes, then turn over and cook for another 10 minutes. Make sure it does not burn. Add corn oil when you turn over. Trust me, this is the way we cook Lusgnign in Pabineau. Enjoy

Note from Eva: If you would like to learn more about Gilbert, there is a nice documentary on the internet that is easily viewed about traditional medicinal plants. I enjoyed it very much. Much of the documentary is spoken in Mi'kmaq which I really loved to hear but narrated in English by the film maker. Click here. If you can't watch the video, I have copied and pasted the transcript of the video below. Enjoy : ) I would also like to write a bit more about Gilbert in the near future as one of our featured role models, he was kind enough to share four recipes with us and I would like to release those to you, one recipe at a time. By the way, his Pabineau Luski is pretty good, and highly recommended so enjoy. : )

Transcript of Video


Native Canadian medicine is the science of relationships.


Gilbert Sewell begins his day by greeting the sun


Gilbert collects medicinal plants from around his home in Pabineau, New Brunswick.

He will use this muskrat root to treat sore throats and chest colds.

For Gilbert, how a plant is gathered is as important as the plant itself. Gilbert thanks the land for the medicine by offering tobacco.


Tobacco is a sacred currency that reinforces the relationship between the patient, the healer, medicines and the land.

Because part of a healer's responsibility is to keep the land healthy too.


Labrador tea is used for upset stomachs.


Red willow bark contains compounds similar to aspirin.

Close by is wintergreen, a heart medicine.


For us the woods is like our pharmacy. We don't have to run down to the store every time we have an ailment. It doesn't cost you anything. All you have to know is where to pick it. And if you don't know where to pick it go to an elder. Give him some tobacco and say, look, could you help me and show me the ways of the Mi'kmaq people.


Each plant is prepared and preserved in its own way.

Some processes take weeks.


Raymond is looking for his father-in-law's help to quit smoking.


Gilbert uses ceremonies to focus Raymond's commitment to healing.


Worldwide, the natural health business is booming.


In response, Health Canada is revamping its regulations for natural health products. It carried out extensive consultations with aboriginal communities. At first this initiative met some resistance.


Super: Phil Waddington, Health Canada

Many of the people that are within the Aboriginal community are concerned that we are actually going to be taking the information from them. And that is not what we will be doing. It is only if somebody brings that information and says "I want to take this product and move it to the mass market," that we'd be looking at having our regulations apply.


Products based on Native medicines are already beginning to show up in the mass market.


Super: Rick Stewart, Lakota Herbal Products

The world wide market is in the billons, and billons, and billons of dollars.

They want to be a part of the herbal game. They look at everybody making all this money and they say "Hey, ya know, a lot of this is our knowledge." Like echinacea is the number one selling herb in the world today. Right? And yet they have no piece of it.


Health Canada's new regulations focus on labelling. They recognize the patient's right to decide what they are taking. And to know what evidence shows that a product is safe and actually works.


The standards of evidence that would be applied, would be proportional to the degree of risk associated with the product. So for example if a product was going to treat colds and flu's, then basing that on traditional literature, most people are comfortable with that. If you're going to treat something a bit more life threatening or is more serious in its outcome, then you would have to have more evidence to be able to support it.


But Native medicine may present other challenges. It's an integrated practice. And the effectiveness of a particular remedy has as much to do with the healer and the patient as with active ingredients.


Super: Michael Kanentakeron Mitchell, executive director, Centre for Nation Building

I can't see the white race going that far or having that kind of patience. And that's why they say "Can we bottle this? Can we put this in pill form?" Probably not.


What they've said is that you can't take a product out of the practise of medicine and make it a traditional cure. The interaction that goes on between the healer and the person that comes to that healer for help, the presentation of the medicine, the way that it is gathered. It is a very spiritual medium in which to two work together. And to take that and sterilize it and put it in a bottle and sit it on the shelf. One thing that we have heard very regularly, from within the community, is that you can't really do that.


Bernice said...

ur doing good sis.. keep them comming

Eva Nicholas said...

thanks...I'll try my best..keep checking back and you can help by taking the survey if you didn't already do so. :) TTYL Sis

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much, I find these recipes very useful.