The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen

The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen is a recipe book written by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley, published by the University of MN Press in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Sean Sherman is an Oglala Lakota chef who was born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota and is currently based in South Minneapolis. Sherman will be opening an indigenous cuisine restaurant within the Water Works park development project overlooking Saint Anthony Falls and the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, due to open in 2019.[1]

The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen
The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen.jpg
AuthorSean Sherman, Beth Dooley
CountryUnited States
SubjectNative American cuisine
PublisherUniversity of Minnesota Press
Publication date
October 2017
Media typeBook
ISBN978-0-8166-9979-7 (1ed, hardcover)

The cookbook advocates use of Native American cuisine, indigenous ingredients and ancestral culinary techniques as a way to return to healthy collective eating habits and reduce the incidence of diabetes and other health issues which are endemic on Indian reservations and among Native people.[2][3]


Recipes are grouped by where the ingredients are obtained, including 'Fields and Gardens', 'Prairies and Lakes' and 'The Indigenous Pantry.' Informative sidebars cover topics ranging from the difference between terminology, to ingredient information, to the noble way to hunt. Commonly-held information such as the Three Sisters ingredients of corn, beans and squash; and the unique, crucial aspects of hominy[4] is enhanced with additional science/cooking/diet aspects based on Sherman's extensive research.[5][6]

Sherman researched the foods and cooking methods extensively, using published sources as well as personal interviews with family members and others in his tribe in Pine Ridge, and principles of ethnobotany. The food-related disruptions of colonialism - including the additions of white flour, sugar, dairy and fat - are stripped away, replaced by food that utilizes regional ingredients to create an empowering diet.[2][7][8]


While the health issues facing Native people are extensively researched[9] solutions are less clear. Many groups have tackled the problems before with limited success, and for some the idea of returning to original eating habits is unrealistic.[10] Nevertheless, the facts speaking to the misfit between government-issued foods and the genetic disposition of Native people is clear.[11] The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen joins a decades-long, growing movement[12] including cookbooks such as Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions written by husband/wife team Fernando Divina and Marlene Divina and published by Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian when it opened in 2004[13][14] and Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories and Recipes from the Upper Midwest by Heid E. Erdrich in 2013.[15] Other parts of the movement include the 2006 television series called Seasoned With Spirit: A Native Cook’s Journey with Loretta Barrett Oden,[16] organizations like Native Seeds/SEARCH and the International Institute of Indigenous Science-Indigenous Permaculture, health systems focused on Native populations, and various groups focusing on sustainable agriculture such as the USDA[17] and the Land Stewardship Project.


"There are cookbooks from which one simply cooks the recipes, and cookbooks like Chef Sherman’s, from which one learns how and why to cook," Eric Patterson notes, in a positive review - stating that the recipes a means to the end of reclaiming the history and culture of indigenous peoples.[5]

Sherman's book - part textbook, part cookbook - tells the story of growing up on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. It also includes Sherman's dismissal of frybread as simply not good enough; given all that had been part of his people's diets before and all that is available now - and how people in other parts of the world had retained their original, healthy diets.[18][19]

The book won a James Beard Award in 2018.[20]


  1. ^ Grumdahl, Dara Moskowitz (September 15, 2017). "Sioux Chef Lands a First Home: Water Works – The Mississippi River falls, where Minneapolis began, have always been an important center of Native American life, now they're getting a legit Native American restaurant". Mpls.St.Paul Magazine. Retrieved December 30, 2017. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |work= (help)
  2. ^ a b Walhout, Hannah (October 2, 2017). "The Pine Ridge-born chef is the author of the new cookbook 'The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen". Food & Wine. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  3. ^ White, Rowen (April 11, 2017). "' Food Sovereignty: Nourishing and Teaching the Next Generation". Indian Country Today. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  4. ^ Flanagan, Marie (April 22, 2011). "'Native Farmers Gather to Protect Seeds'". NorthCentral SARE. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Patterson, Eric. "The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen". Retrieved 30 December 2015.
  6. ^ Butler, Kristin (August 3, 2017). "Exclusive First Look: Two Recipes From Sean Sherman's Cookbook, 'The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen'". Indian Country Today. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  7. ^ Ralat, Jose R. (October 26, 2017). "'Recipes from The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen'". Cowboys & Indians. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  8. ^ Sherman, Sean (October 18, 2017). "' The Sioux Chef is Reclaiming North America's Indigenous Cuisine'". Civil Eats. Retrieved December 30, 2017. As my team and I conduct research and come to understand the components of an indigenous food system that includes farming through permaculture, hunting and fishing, foraging for wild foods, preservation through canning, producing salt/fat/sugar, and studying ethno-oceanography, we can both rebuild our cultures and create a food system that showcases and solidifies our true identities. We will realize how unique and special our homelands are and become the answers to our ancestors’ prayers.
  9. ^ "'Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota Foundation Report'". Native American Community Development Institute. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  10. ^ Capps, Robert (July 1, 1996). "'TYPE 2 DIABETES CONTINUES TO PLAGUE INDIAN RESERVATIONS, NEW HOPES ARE SCARCE'". “DiabetesHealth”. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  11. ^ Jane, Brody (May 21, 1991). "'To Preserve Their Health and Heritage, Arizona Indians Reclaim Ancient Foods'". ‘’NYT’’. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  12. ^ "'Original Local: Indigenous Foods, Stories, and Recipes from the Upper Midwest". Portage District Library. Retrieved January 7, 2018.
  13. ^ "Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions". Oyate. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  14. ^ Batz, Bob (March 3, 2011). "'Foods of the Americas: Native Recipes and Traditions'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  15. ^ LeMay, Konnie (November 26, 2013). "'Poet Heid Erdrich Turns Talents to a Cultural Cookbook Celebrating Indigenous Foods'". Indian Country Today. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  16. ^ "'Seasoned With Spirit: A Native Cook's Journey with Loretta Barrett Oden'". PBS. Retrieved January 5, 2018.
  17. ^ "Sustainable Agriculture: Definitions and Terms". USDA. Retrieved January 6, 2018.
  18. ^ Lawler, Christa (November 22, 2017). "' What did my ancestors eat': Sean Sherman's cookbook The Sioux Chef is a return to from-the-land, pre-colonialization foods'". Duluth News Tribune. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  19. ^ "' The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen"'". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved December 30, 2017.
  20. ^ "'Sioux Chef' cookbook wins James Beard Award". Minnestoa Public Radio. April 28, 2018.

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