Bruce Kaye, Navajo and Hopi Foods, Frybread, Piki, and more

I have known Bruce Kaye for well over 25 years, we first met when we worked together for the county.  Even when I left my job at the county in 1996, Bruce and I stayed in touch having lunch together almost monthly.
We’ve talked about lots of different things over the years — but I had always been interested in what types of food he had when he was growing up in Arizona.
The first thing we started talking about was Indian Frybread (AKA Navajo Frybread) which started with his Navajo ancestors when the U.S. army moved the Navajo people off their ancestral land, completely out of the state of Arizona, to Fort Bosque Redondo in New Mexico.  Taken away from all of their traditional foods and the places they farmed and raised animals, the Navajo people were forced to survive on army rations.  One of the rations was wheat flour, and Navajo people soon learned how to make something delicious and filling out of this and other things that were part of their rations.  This food has now become ubiquitous in Indian Country all over the U.S. and is served at almost every pow-wow, Big Time, and other events.
There are growing concerns about frybread and fried anything in Indian Country. Indian people suffer from diabetes and other health issues related to poor diets at a greater rate than the rest of the population of the U.S.  We didn’t talk about those things, but I do think it is important to include that thought here.
We soon moved on to talk about the importance of corn, eating things like Piki bread and Kneel Down bread, eating mutton from the sheep raised at the home of his grandparents, and more!  There was so much to talk about there are actually two interviews — Part 1 and Part 2.
This program was supported in part by the Northwest California Tribal Communities Extension Program, a USDA funded project through UC Cooperative Extension of Humboldt and Del Norte Counties.