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Column: NMAI cafe offers history, health lesson

"I find myself stuck by choice and, I suppose, inclination on the ground level, in the Mitsitam (which means "Let's eat!" in the Delaware tongue) cafeteria at the breathtaking new National Museum of the American Indian.

There are three more exhibition floors above. But for a tutorial on the lifeways of America's original settlers - their striking richness and their utter degradation - you can stand pat: The cafeteria line is a Cliffs Notes.

Or maybe I should say, it could be: There are no interpretive labels at the serving stations. But at each stop - one offering cook pots of smoked pork and quinoa, the ancient Aztec grain; another, a maple-brushed Thanksgiving turkey; others, the bison flank steak of the Plains, the planked salmon of the Northwest, the "Indian taco" fry bread of the reservation, and so forth - there is an instructive back story. Or two."

Get the Story:
Rick Nichols: Sad lessons at Indian museum (The Philadelphia Inquirer 11/3)

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