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A Native American Cultural and Culinary Adventure Series - Coming to PBS in November 2006!

To truly explore Native American traditions and culture, one must first start with the food.

(Fall, 2006) SEASONED WITH SPIRIT is a new 5-part PBS series that offers viewers a culinary celebration of America’s bounty combining Native American history and culture with delicious, healthy recipes inspired by indigenous foods. Much more than simply a cooking series, each 30-minute episode of SEASONED WITH SPIRIT is a visually stunning, cultural adventure across the American landscape where viewers meet Native American peoples, see their breathtaking environs, learn their history and traditions, and, best of all, taste their cuisine. Plus, the entire series features a stirring musical score featuring today’s top Native American artists.

Loretta Barrett Oden, a renowned Native American chef, food historian and lecturer, and proud woman of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, hosts the series. With her infectious humor and unstoppable enthusiasm, Loretta travels around the country to immerse herself in the lives and traditions of numerous Native American tribes. She blends her passion for delectable food and engaging storytelling to create a fascinating series for viewers of all backgrounds.
From simple comfort foods such as Sassafras Shrimp Gumbo, to more exotic dishes as such as Grilled Buffalo Tenderloin topped with Chokecherry Au Jus, SEASONED WITH SPIRIT presents a culinary palette for every taste, and a taste for every palate.

Beyond food, fun and history, the series also has a greater purpose. Over the past thirty years, Native American peoples have seen an alarming rise in obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Some tribes, such as the Tohono O’odham in Arizona, have seen 70% of their population develop the disease. Tribal people, like many of the nation’s citizens, have incorporated inexpensive processed foods into their diet to disastrous health consequences. SEASONED WITH SPIRIT attempts to confront the problem by encouraging Native Americans and the rest of our country to reconnect with the natural food of our heritage…those from the land. Buying and preparing food from local growers is always a healthier option and as this series demonstrates, more and more Native American tribes are recognizing the benefits of using traditional foods.

Episode 101     “Gulf Coast Originals”
Over 6,000 years before the Acadian French (today’s Cajuns) arrived in Louisiana, there were Native peoples living and fishing in Louisiana’s bayou country. An historical tour of this Gulf Coast region provides a lesson about Native influences on “Cajun” cooking. Loretta cooks Sassafras Shrimp Gumbo and Spicy Alligator Sauce Piquant.

Episode 102    “Cuisine of the Desert Southwest”
Most people, when thinking of the cuisine of the southwest, think of Mexican food, but Native foods in their traditional form are an exciting way of expressing this beautiful and rugged region of the country. During a visit with the Tohono O’odham Tribe of Arizona, Loretta joins the tribe for their annual 3-day harvest of Saguaro Cactus fruit. She also joins Mildred Manuel to prepare Wild Spinach with Cholla Buds and Chiltepine Peppers, Tapary Beans with Ribs, Ash Bread (slow-cooked in the ashes of a mesquite fire), and for a sweet refreshing drink, Mesquite Juice.

Episode 103    “Return of the Buffalo”
There is a movement among Tribes to bring the buffalo back to the Great Plains in order to “promote cultural enhancement, spiritual revitalization, ecological restoration and economic development.” Loretta travels to the buffalo range of Fred Dubray on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota to learn more. Wasna (Sun-Dried Bison with Chokecherries), Wojape (Chokecherry Soup) and Grilled Bison Tenderloin with a Sage-Chokecherry Jus are on the menu for this exciting show.

Episode 104    “Bounty of the River’s Edge”
The people of the Yurok Tribe live off the bounty of the Pacific Coast on the banks of California’s Klamath River, harvesting salmon, shellfish, seaweed and edible wild greens along with acorns which are ground and cooked in tightly woven handmade baskets. Loretta joins her Yurok friends for a feast of alderwood-smoked salmon, dried sirfish and eels along with an amazing sturgeon egg (say CAVIAR!) bread.

Episode 105    “Food Upon the Water”
Wild rice, or manoomin, is still harvested the traditional way by the Anishanabe, or Ojibwe people of the Great Lakes Region. Ricers and their families take canoes in the rice fields and hand harvest the rice. After participating in the rice harvest, Loretta helps to prepare Winona LaDuke’s favorite wild rice and maple syrup cake which accompanies a lakeside first rice feast of buffalo, wild rice and cranberry stuffed acorn squash, buffalo stew and beautiful ruby red swamp tea.

Frank Blythe, Executive Director of the Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT), sees the series as an important cultural link for tribal peoples. “Preparing traditional foods has always been a main connection for Native peoples to their land, their language and their tribal culture,” Blythe explains. “Our series takes the viewer right to the original source of traditional food preparation, and entertains with real insights to different tribal culture around the U.S.”

Host Loretta Barrett Oden began her passionate relationship with food as a small child at the side of her mother, grandmothers, and aunts in Oklahoma. She spent most of her adult years raising her family, cooking, studying, teaching and adapting recipes to preserve the culinary legacy of her upbringing. In the 1990s, she and her son, the late chef Clayton Oden, opened the Corn Dance Cafe, the first restaurant to showcase the amazing bounty of food indigenous to the Americas. She has been featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, In Food Today and Cooking Live, and in the following publications, The New York Times, Prevention Magazine, Sunset, Veranda, Food Arts, and National Geographic Traveler. She also served as a guest chef in the Robert Mondavi Great Chefs series and the 2006 Taste3 Celebration in Napa and on Barbara Pool Fenzl’s PBS series, Savor the Southwest.

Connecticut Public Television (CPTV) is a nationally recognized producer and presenter of quality public television programming, including Barney & FriendsTM, Alan Alda in Scientific American Frontiers, Bob the Builder™, and Wounded in Action. Entering its 43rd year, CPTV remains committed to bringing the best in educational programming and services to Connecticut and the nation.

Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT) supports the creation, promotion and distribution of Native public media. They accomplish this mission by producing and developing educational telecommunication programs including public television and public radio; distributing and encouraging the broadest use of such educational telecommunications programs; providing training opportunities to encourage increasing numbers of American Indians and Alaska Natives to produce quality public broadcasting programs. NAPT also promotes increased control and use of information technologies by American Indians and Alaska Natives; provides leadership in creating awareness of and developing telecommunications policies favorable to American Indians and Alaska Natives; and building partnerships to develop and implement telecommunications projects with tribal nations, Indian organizations, and native communities.

With its principals, Matt Cohen and Renard Cohen, Resolution Pictures is an accomplished production company formed in 1999. They have produced such work for cable networks as HGTV’s Restore America and the Food Network’s My Country My Kitchen, which won a James Beard Award for Best National Television Food Journalism show. Cohen and Cohen have worked with such high profile talent as Sara Moulton, Mario Batali, Bill Boggs, Ming Tsai and Rocco DiSpirito, to name a few. Prior to forming Resolution, founder Matt Cohen created and produced Trailside: Make Your Own Adventure, a public television how-to series on the outdoors. He was nominated for an Emmy for his work on the series.

SEASONED WITH SPIRIT is co-produced by Connecticut Public Television and Native American Public Telecommunications (NAPT) in association with Resolution Pictures.
Producer: Matt Cohen
Host: Loretta Barrett Oden
Executive Producer for Native American Public Telecommunications: Frank Blythe
Executive Producer for CPTV: Larry Rifkin




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