The Goshen College community welcomed Gary Morseau, citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi to campus on Friday, March 9.
Morseau engaged a group of students, faculty and community members in a conversation about food sovereignty and a meal he prepared himself.
“Food sovereignty, to our nation, is being able to produce our own foods and not be so dependent on dominant society,” said Morseau.
Morseau and his wife grow their own Potawatomi corn, watermelon, beans and squash.
The meal he prepared featured corn from their garden. The menu included grilled white hominy, lightly seasoned with garden herb, sweet meat, finely diced beef slow cooked in maple syrup and dried berries, wild rice and mushroom, hand harvest wild rice cooked in a rich mushroom broth and a sunflower pudding, topped with mixed berry sauce.
Chelsea Risser, a senior whose thesis project is on exploring how Goshen College can decolonize and indigenize which she believes includes acknowledging the past and supporting indigenous people, was the one who organized Friday’s event.
“Forming relationships with the Potawatomi is crucial, not only for making reparations for sitting on land taken from their ancestors, but for understanding a more complete history of the land we live on here in Goshen,” said Risser. “I think listening to Gary on Friday helped everyone at the event understand a little more deeply the kind of relationship between humans and land that can happen, and how that relationship involves what we eat and where it came from.”
President Rebecca Stoltzfus was present at the event on Friday.
“I learned a great deal from the event and am grateful to the student leaders who organized it,” she said. “We need to grapple with the terribly difficult issues surrounding the Doctrine of Discovery and our present relationship to the Potawatomi people. I am personally committed to continue the conversations and the building of relationships.”
For ways to continue the conversation and building of relationships, the Pokagon Band Cultural Activities Coordinator, Nicole Holloway, who attended the event, encouraged GC students and faculty to contact her anytime about inviting speakers from the Pokagon Band because Pokagon Band citizens are involved across all disciplines.
Holloway also extended an invitation for students or GC groups to visit Dowagiac and partake in activities happening within the tribe. Students can attend the Pokagon Band pow wow in late August and like the Pokagon Band on Facebook to see updates.