Join a panel discussion, cooking demonstration and more led by Chef Sean Sherman

by Rachel Hatch, Illinois State University

Chef Sean Sherman

Oglala Lakota Chef Sean Sherman will explore decolonizing the food system with events at Illinois State University on April 14 and 15. 

Founder of the company The Sioux Chef, Sherman will share his journey of discovering, reviving, and reimagining Indigenous cuisine with the talk “The (R)evolution of Indigenous Food Systems of North America” at 7 p.m. April 15 via Zoom. The talk will explore fascinating details about how historical and cultural roots of food systems result in important health, environmental, and political consequences today.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. Register here.

Seeds of Change 
10 a.m., April 14 

Illinois State’s Horticulture Center will host a discussion of the culinary uses and cultural meanings of local plants. An online informal chat between Chef Sean Sherman with the Director of the ISU Horticulture Center Jessica Chambers; Mac Condill, founder and owner of The 200 Acres; and Shana Bushyhead Condill, National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. 
During the conversation about a few indigenous plants you will learn more about: 
• popular ideas about the plants 
• what the plant is like 
• culinary uses 
• cultural meanings 
Registrants will receive a packet of seeds great for your garden, generously donated by The 200 Acres. People who sign up for this event will also get digital materials about the plants, the ISU Horticulture Center, and North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NāTIFS). Register here.

Normal Food Summit 
3:30-5 p.m., April 14 

A panel discussion of Native American cuisine, sustainability, food justice, and food sovereignty among diverse stakeholders, including Illinois State faculty affiliated with the Food Studies minor, the Town of Normal, the Savannah Institute, Epiphany Farms, the Midwest Food Bank, and local food pantries and community gardens. Registration is required. Register here.

Cook along with Chef Sherman 
Chef Sherman will also give an online cooking demonstration at noon on April 15. “Home Made: A Healthy, Indigenous Cooking Demonstration” will allow participants to cook along with Chef Sherman as he prepares local, Indigenous foods. Register here.  

Those who register will be able to pick up meal kits that coordinate with the demonstration. Meal kits will also be offered to local food pantries and food assistance programs. Those who wish to sample the foods can try special menu items available for purchase with Epiphany Farms.  

Chef Sean Sherman 
The focus of The Sioux Chef has been on the revitalization and evolution of indigenous food systems throughout North America. Chef Sean Sherman has studied extensively to determine the foundations of these food systems to gain a full understanding of bringing back a sense of Native American cuisine to today’s world. His cookbook, The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, was awarded the James Beard medal for Best American Cookbook and was chosen one of the top 10 cookbooks of 2017 by the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, as well as the Smithsonian Magazine. The Sioux Chef team educates and makes indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible through the recently founded nonprofit North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems (NāTIFS). Learn more at

Major support for the events comes from the Alice and Fannie Fell Trust and the Harold K. Sage Funds. Campus sponsors include, the Office of the Provost’s Enrollment Management and Academic Services, College of Applied Science and Technology, and the School of Theatre and Dance. Support also comes from the departments of Agriculture, English, Family and Consumer Science; Geography, Geology, and the Environment; History; and Sociology and Anthropology, along with the programs of Ethnic Studies; Food Studies; Native American Studies; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Epiphany Farms, Hy-Vee, and Green Top Food Co-op are also contributing to the events.

Those with questions can contact Dr. Kathryn Sampeck at

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