Recovering Our Ancestors' Gardens: Indigenous Recipes and Guide to Diet & Fitness

Devon Abbott Mihesuah, Author . Univ. of Nebraska $23.95 (194p) ISBN 978-0-8032-3253-2

Mihesuah, a member of Oklahoma's Choctaw Nation, teaches at the University of Kansas's Center for Indigenous Nations Studies and edits American Indian Quarterly . She draws upon her heritage, plus research on the evolution of indigenous lifestyles, to provide guidance for healthy living. Citing colonization as a primary influence on Natives' eating and exercising habits, she points to loss of land and an influx of material goods as factors in their physical decline. Mihesuah suggests that returning to the activities of earlier generations—canoeing, running, gardening—will bring fitness, confidence and calm, and includes recipes for dishes like Comanche Ata-Kwasa (roasted corn). The book brims with information, but its approach can overwhelm. Chapters are often weighed down by lengthy lists more appropriate for an appendix. Similarly, if Mihesuah believes her intended readers "fall prey to misleading ads that tell us... fried, salty, fatty, and sugary foods are good for us," or need instructions on "How do you start running?" perhaps descriptions of para-aminobenzoic acid and daily requirements of Vitamin D, in micrograms, are too detailed. This well-researched book will be most useful to launch discussions, or perhaps to read chapter by chapter, which would help parse the data overload. (Dec.)

Reviewed on: 10/17/2005
Release date: 12/01/2005
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