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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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Tehachapi Restaurant Teaches Native American Culture
by Kimberly Foley
credits: Kern County Mountain News
Native American culture is something often taught in school, but rarely can one learn about it by just simply walking in a restaurant. Red House BBQ in Tehachapi, California is doing just that by combining food and decor.

"It's a lifestyle," said Mano Lujan, owner of Red House BBQ. "It's how we live; it's how we believe."

Now Lujan has found a way to share his culture with his entire community by adding barbeque to traditional Native American foods.

"We didn't just eat acorns and buffalo," said Lujan. "We actually have a cuisine. It's simple, but simple is good."

Lujan is half Native American. He said he embraced that at an early age, and later, found a way to incorporate it with his dream.

"It was never meant to be an attraction thing," said Lujan. "It was just me saying, 'Here I am; this is me.' You can walk into my restaurant and know a little bit about me right away."

It's not only the food that reflects Native American culture, but also the decor. It includes artwork, animals, and teepees. Customers can sit in teepees and eat. Lujan said he decorated that way because his dream restaurant wasn't just about food.

"It was about understanding," said Lujan. "It was about people kind of learning about my culture in a new way."

Something customers from all over embrace. Some even said it reminds them of home.

"Where I'm from, it's just like this," said Justin Bradbury, a customer. "So its good to see the stuffed animals and the old tools and stuff like that. It feels just like home, except a long ways away."

Whether it's the food or the teepees that attract customers, Lujan is happy to be giving the community a different kind of experience.

"Take it if you want; It's there," said Lujan. "As Indian people, that's usually how we are. If you want to learn, come around. I'll educate you without preaching to you."

The third Friday of every month, Red House BBQ hosts "Native Night". They expand their menu and bring in bands to play traditional Native American music.

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