This podcast episode explores every Alaska Natives' favorite topic: Native food and the relationship that Alaska Native people have with traditional foods. I interview Tikaan Galbreath who is a co-founder of the Anchorage Food Mosaic and Leila Smith, who runs her own Native inspired food truck called Mobile Munchies 907.
"I was wanting to spend more time with my son and trying to think of ways that I could make money with things that I'm naturally good at. So I thought of cooking; I'd be happy to cook. I didn't even have any kitchen experience. I don't know--maybe I was crazy--but I know I could make people happy with what I cook." - Leila Smith
Leila Avitalria Smith is an Alaska Native Yupik mother, mobile food vendor, and fry-bread extraordinaire with roots in Hooper Bay, Alaska. Leila was lucky enough to live in many parts of Alaska, but primarily grew up in Kotzebue and graduated high school in Emmonak in 2003. Growing up in rural Alaska, she learned to cook local foods like moose, caribou, and seal, and has since put her own modern twists on traditional foods. Leila owns and operates Mobile Munchies 907, a vendor food truck that often sells out at local events. Someday, she hopes to open up a cafe where she can continue to create locally-inspired dishes and feature fellow Alaskan artists as well. To find out more about Mobile Munchies 907, click here.
"I see food as medicine, period. I think it's a big disconnect in our western model...I see food as a foundation for economy and health and I think in our rural communities there is an economic opportunity to break away from the dependency on the western economic model." - Tikaan Galbreath
Tikaan in his own words:
My name is Silas Tikaan Galbreath of the Athabaskan people from the Ahtna region and part of the Tsisyu clan. Raised between two identities, I spent my childhood and adolescent years in Fairbanks and the village of Mentaska. In both places I was raised in the woods. In the woods, I learned many lessons. I learned to slow down, listen, and breath. The woods invited me to imagine the fantastical possibilities present in life when we are able to ground ourselves from the tangible reality and nature of things. They reminded me that great things come from a determined persistence, patience, and a willingness to adapt. The woods taught me that nothing stands alone, that all things are connected, and that I must integrate my ambitions into the shared vision of my community.