An eatery within the Minneapolis American Indian Center writes colonial ingredients out of the story of Native American cuisine.
Gatherings Cafe is one Native American eatery where you won’t find fry bread or other “commods,” slang for government commodities among indigenous populations. You won’t find sugary sodas either—just infused water and tea. The absence of these items from the cafe’s offerings is, in a way, the point. Nestled within the Minneapolis American Indian Center, this cafe looks to untangle colonial narratives from the story of indigenous foodways by emphasizing pre-contact ingredients.
After attending a craft workshop or visiting the center’s art gallery, choose from breakfast options such as a Red Lake Walleye Benny—with pike-perch cakes on wild rice bread with red pepper aioli—or a sweet potato cake with rosemary, wild rice, and maple syrup. Bison, which is braised for 48 hours with 11 different spices, anchors the lunch spread. The Bison Melt gets blueberry horseradish and provolone, while the BBLT gets bison, bacon, lettuce, and tomato with a sun-dried tomato aioli.
While the cafe’s menu casts a warm glance at Native American culinary history without the stain of colonial oppression, it does so to make way for a brighter, healthier future with their wholesome offerings.
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