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jeudi 6 octobre 2011

Food for the Kickapoo.. in South Florida

The Traditional Kickapoo Tribe with their homes in Eagle Pass, Texas in Maverick County and Nacimiento in Coahuila, Mexico is one of the few tribes in North America with dual nationalities (Mohawk in NY and Turtle Mountain Chippewa in North Dakota come to mind). They are and they were fiercely independent and refused any contact with the US Govt at that time and went lock stock and barrel to Mexico 150 years ago where a grateful Mexican Government gave them large tracts of land, in the shadow of the Sierra Madre Oriental.
Maverick County which borders Mexico and Texas has 97 per cent spanish speaking Mexican population and the poverty rate is 1 out of 3 households, twice the national level. At one time there was plenty of discrimination against the Indians but lately they have become the largest employer in the area and the discrimination has eased somewhat.
I have visited Maverick county on numerous occasions and one thing I can tell you if you want good food, you better cross Rio Bravo and go to Mexico. Here is one example where America is not as good as Mexico. Since 9/11 and the recent narco wars, the crossing into Mexico is not as easy as it used to be.
I especially made a detour to be here in South Florida when my Kickapoo sister, Mena and another Kickapoo arrived to attend a conference being held at the Seminole Indian Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, Florida. I appreciated this chance to show my appreciation to them and be a good host and especially to introduce to them a taste of the rest of the world.
As you can see in the collage above, I took them to : Thai, Italian, Peruvian, Cuban . Also made them taste: Croissants, Pain Au Chocolat, Cafe con Leche.
They were eager to try but many things were not easy on their palate but they were brave.
More than anything else, when they were out of the conference, which they attended dutifully, we had a good chance to talk and for me to learn a lot from them.
I wanted to make their visit to South Florida as memorable as possible. I may have succeeded.
I have invited Mena to come to La Habana to visit the Medical facilities there so that they can freely choose to go there for services not easily available in their poor county or surrounding region in Mexico, for example Neuro restoration of stroke patients.
My Cuban Mother is fascinated by the Kickapoo and always asks me, how are the Kickapoo? If Mena comes to La Habana, I will make sure my Cuban mother gets to meet her..
In the meantime, I am grateful for this chance ...