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Celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day Through Food

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Local Tribes collaborate with Thomas Cuisine Teams

Acting as the gateway to the majestic Cascade Mountain Range in Northwest Washington State, the town of Sedro-Woolley is home to PeaceHealth United General, where Thomas Cuisine provides patient dining and café dining for guests and busy healthcare professionals. Hospital foodservice is changing; continually evolving toward fresh, healthy offerings that are locally sourced, scratch-made, and seasonal. With the transition to Autumn, Thomas Cuisine Manager Jillian Robinson and her team decided to offer uniquely local entrees in observance of Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Inspired by her personal values as a Chippewa from the North Dakota Tribe, Jillian wanted to feature authentic Indigenous dishes to highlight the traditional bounty of the Sedro-Woolley area as well as the favorite tastes from her childhood.

To aid in her culinary research for Indigenous Peoples’ Day, she contacted the Tribal Alliance Group for support in understanding the traditional hunting and harvesting practices of the area’s Tribes. In response to her inquiry, representatives from the Lhaq’temish, (the Lummi People) and the Upper Skagit Tribe helped Jillian understand some of their regional hunting and gathering practices. What resulted from this collaboration was truly remarkable. As a nod to her grandparents and growing up with their traditional fry bread, Jillian made sure to include fry bread tacos as one entrée option, and the second option featured salmon, fiddle head ferns, and potatoes topped with a morel mushroom cream sauce. These produce and protein items can be found locally in the forest and waterways of the Cascades and have been harvested for many renditions of traditional fare. The entrees were embraced by customers and our teams alike; both groups learned to create and taste something new and close to home, thanks to the combined efforts of Jillian and the Tribes. Knowing where our ingredients come from and eating with respect to the land not only helps the environment; it boosts appreciation toward the region in which you live, and traditions around food that we may not always take the time to be grateful for. If you’re ready to source local ingredients for your cooking and support local culture and diversity, Jillian’s advice is to start by researching the history and culture of where you live, and to ask informed questions to build meaningful relationships to participate in.

Listen Now - A Conversation with Jillian about Celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day

To learn more about Jillian’s background and her work around Indigenous Peoples’ Day, we’re pleased to bring you this conversation about her passion for the freshest, most regionally authentic ingredients possible. We hope you enjoy this look into the Thomas Cuisine approach to healthcare foodservice management and cultural inclusion.   

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