Dan Kimewon teaches
cooking lessons in Anishinaabemowin and English
Jan 29, 2016 An Anishinaabe cook is using his indigenous
language and knowledge of traditional foods to teach people about
culture and healthy eating at the Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health.
Kimewon uses Anishinaabemowin to teach cooking and healthy
Dan Kimewon, from Saugeen First Nation in southern Ontario,
is in Ottawa this weekend to talk Anishinaabemowin (also known as
the Ojibway language) with community members, lead cooking classes,
and share his experiences of growing up with traditional Anishinaabe
teachings about growing and preparing food.
"I'm here to teach about a healthy way of life, and how to cook
in a healthy way," said Kimewon, following a lesson with the Wabano
diabetes program's community kitchen, where people learn how to
make healthy food options to manage diabetes.
Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health's community kitchen is
a weekly event. (Waubgeshig Rice/CBC News)
He encourages people to move away from diets of processed and
fast foods in hopes of curbing high rates of diabetes and obesity
among indigenous people.
"We've got so many native people that are sick from this, and
we've got to understand that," he said.
Instead, he wants people to embrace more traditional indigenous
foods like corn, also known as "mandamin" in Anishinaabemowin. He
demonstrates how to prepare corn for soup and other meals in his
"[Corn] is a way of life of our people," he said. "It never
came from overseas. It's from here. We've always had it."
Kimewon speaks Anishinaabemowin when teaching how to cook
Kimewon's hands-on demonstrations in the kitchen
include language lessons, where he labels common kitchen items with
words in Anishinaabemowin. For example, "mookmaan" is the word for
Morning and afternoon sessions at Wabano on Saturday are free
and open to the public.
Kimewon visits the Wabano Centre's community kitchen program.
(Waubgeshig Rice/CBC News)
Promoting healthy habits
Robyn Manwell, Wabano's dietitian, believes this knowledge is
especially important for young people.
"There are so many health issues that are more predominant in
aboriginal cultures," she said. "And promoting health from a young
age is the best way to create these healthy habits through the rest
of their life.
"Having [Kimewon] here to kind of talk about the foods that
we're serving, and how they're traditionally staples in an aboriginal
diet - we're lucky enough to have him."
Kimewon believes an important first step to healthy living is
talking about it, and sharing knowledge to encourage future generations
to speak their language and eat traditional foods.
"Our way is being lost so fast, that there's only a few of us
that talk about this," he said. "But we need more people to talk