Mother Corn and the Dixie Pig: Native Food in the Native South

Pounding corn on the Cherokee Reservation in North Carolina, c. 1950, courtesy of the Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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Mother Corn and the Dixie Pig: Native Food in the Native South

by Rayna Green
Southern Cultures, Vol. 14, No. 4: First Peoples

"They all know, out there in Indian Country, that the loss of traditional diet and the cultural skills needed to maintain it has killed more Indians than Andy Jackson."

Native food is in the news. Every day. All over the country, except in the South, foodies, farmers, chefs, environmentalists, and food writers are excited about Native food and foodways. That excitement usually comes from a “discovery” (or rediscovery) of the many virtues of old “slow” foods in the now hip vernacular—local, fresh, and seasonal foods that are good for you, good for the land, and good for the small food producer. Often, these rediscovered foods come from “Native” varieties that seed savers, naturalists, nutritionists, and Indians have propped up, from animals that regulators, commercial producers, and advocates have brought back from the brink of extinction, and from habitats redeemed from under middens of waste and neglect.