NPR: Umatilla Tribes hold ceremony to welcome sacred foods
Posted: Tuesday, January 3, 2012
"Around the world last night, revelers marked the start of the new year. But in the Northwest corner of the U.S., some Native American tribes began their celebrations early.
On Dec. 20, just before the winter solstice, tribes in Eastern Oregon held a ceremony called kimtee inmewit, a welcoming of the new foods.
"This goes back to when the world was new. The first food that was created was the salmon — we call it nusux," says Armand Minthorn, the spiritual leader of the tribes that live on the Umatilla Reservation, on the dry side of Oregon.
Minthorn explains that Indian New Year is the time to celebrate the return of the sacred foods. "The second food was the deer. We call the deer nukt. ... The third was the bitter root we call sliiton." These foods will come back to the Indian people as the sunlight hours begin to stretch again, Minthorn says."
Get the Story:
For Some Tribes, New Year's Foods Provide A Sacred Link To The Past
Join the Conversation