WATCH: Cooking Polar Bear Meat and Caribou Head in the North
While historically a nomadic tribe, the Lakota Sioux used to spread seeds alongside the riverbanks to assure a plentiful food supply for the next year. Their food sources depended on the bushes, plants, and the animals.Wild buffalo was the main lifeline until the 19th century, when the U.S. Army launched a buffalo genocide during the Plains Indian Wars in order to starve out the Native American population. "Every buffalo dead is an Indian gone," Columbus Delano, Secretary of the Interior, wrote in his 1872 annual report. "The rapid disappearance of game from the former hunting-grounds must operate largely in favor of our efforts to confine the Indians to smaller areas, and compel them to abandon their nomadic customs."His thought process: if the bison were driven to execution, then the Indians would be forced to surrender to the reservation system.
For Cristinia Eala, a Lakota elder and founder of Tiyospaye Winyan Maka, a non-profit dedicated to alternative energy, housing, and food sourcing for indigenous people, the root cellar and greenhouse are structures she wishes all households on the reservation had. Because they maintain a stable temperature year-round, they can not only store food, but also act as a necessary shelter in regions where access to propane and electricity is unreliable and where tornadoes have a history of rolling through.