The Conflict Kitchen Raises Awareness for Native American Culture

Contributor
This restaurant promotes ethnic diversity and dialogue through cuisine and programming
Conflict Kitchen

Conflict Kitchen

The Conflict Kitchen changes its cultural focus every few months to coincide with current political events.

The Conflict Kitchen in Pittsburgh serves food from countries the United States is in conflict with and its current focus is on the food, culture, and politics of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.

“People are so removed from the idea that there are over 560 sovereign nations within the United States,” co-creator of the Conflict Kitchen, Dawn Weleski, told MUNCHIES.

The Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Iroquois Confederacy) comprises six indigenous nations, primarily located in upstate New York with historical ties to Western Pennsylvania, according to the Conflict Kitchen website.

“Each nation has individual conflicts. The Cayuga are trying to reclaim their lands, meanwhile the US-Canadian border runs right through the Akwesasne reservation (which is Mohawk Nation territory),” Lauren Jimerson, project manager at the Iroquois White Corn Project and a member of the Seneca Nation, told MUNCHIES. “If you look at the history of U.S. government policies, the ultimate goal has been erasure and displacement, so we’re constantly fighting for our cultural identity.”

The restaurant partnered with the Iroquois White Corn Project in Victor, New York, a non-profit agricultural business run by Friends of Ganondagan, to create some of the dishes being offered. The project aims to restore the farming, consumption, and distribution of traditional Iroquois white corn, which has been used by the Haudenosaunee for more than 1,400 years, according to the organization’s website.

A few menu items that are served at the Conflict Kitchen are Gagaihdëhdö (cornbread made from roasted Iroquois white corn flower), Neogë' Wade'sgöndak (cranberry and juniper braised venison served with boiled potatoes), and Okdeahgi' (a root drink).

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The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.