Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Inconvenient Indian, Bev Sellars and The Canadian Prairie Garden Puree Company

Recently I read Thomas King's The Inconvenient Indian, A Curious Account of Native People in North America in preparation for my September Book Club meeting.

The Inconvenient Indian

A non-fictional account, through a combination of historical facts and relevant stories, of our North American Native Peoples, it was a bit of an eye-opener for me. I knew of the unfair treatment of native people, but didn't understand its scope or that of the accompanying racism that continues to this day.

Afterwards I read a book recommended and loaned to me by a friend, They Called Me Number One, Secrets and Survival At An Indian Residential School, by Bev Sellars. 

They Called Me Number One

The author, a member of and the first female chief at the Williams Lake, BC Xat'sull First Nation, tells us of her grandmother's, her mother's and her own experiences at residential school. Even before reading this book I was aware of some of the issues of the residential school system in Canada. Now I'm horrified. No wonder such a high percentage of aboriginal kids and young adults who emerged from those schools, were broken individuals, not only damaged by the abuses that occurred there, but burdened with low self-esteem and estranged from their own communities, language and culture.

At the same time, I have full admiration for Sellars who has written so eloquently about the institution's lasting effects and her own road to healing and wholeness. 

Make no mistake. One does not read these books for enjoyment. While easy reading, they are disturbing and, for that reason, difficult to get through. Read them to educate yourself and consider supporting native people where you can.

One thing we can do is support native business ventures. I'm not thinking here about cigarettes and waste management, both damaging in their own ways and not positive models for the community. Let's encourage and support sustainable, eco-friendly and wholesome entrepreneurial-ship.

Here's one we could get behind: Canadian Prairie Garden Purees, a business founded by Kelly Beaulieu, a member of Sandy Bay First Nations in Manitoba. Based in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, the company uses breakthrough technology to prepare vegetable and fruit purees. The process involves direct steam injection and a continuous flow process to thoroughly and quickly cook and sterilize purees which are then packaged aseptically in pouches of varying sizes.

Innovation Unites Saskatoon Berries and Craft Beer

The natural flavours and bright colours of the raw ingredients are preserved thanks to the quick cooking. And, thanks to the innovative packaging, the pouches need no refrigeration (until opened) . 

There's everything from beets to sweet potatoes to chickpeas and navy beans to cauliflower, squash and Saskatoon berries, all the ingredients fresh, locally grown and non-GMO. The company is also currently developing local sources for organic fruits and vegetables.

The smallest amount that can be purchased is 10 kg. with prices ranging from $26 to $40 for the vegetable purees. Saskatoon berry puree is $90 for 10 kg. If 10 kg seems like rather a large amount, keep in mind that the pouch will last unrefrigerated for 24 months. Also, the original amount can be divided into smaller amounts, then frozen. 

Uses:
    Soup
    Baby Food and Adult nutrition
    Pasta sauces
    Dips and smoothies
    Jams and toppings
    Desserts

Products are shipped within Canada only. Canadian Prairie Garden Purees