Saturday, January 22, 2011

#11 Bannock

If you know a Red person who doesn't like bannock - they're crazy. My friend Mo' doesn't like bannock but she likes fry bread, so really she's only half crazy.

First, where did the bannock we all know and love come from? There are two schools of thought on this.

1. Bannock came from Scottish (white) people. (I believe this one.)

2. Bannock, or a form of, was made by Red people prior to contact, from tree root flour. (In my experience tree roots are not very tasty.)

Let's all pretend you agree with me.

Bannock was invented and brought to Canada by the Scottish. It is a variety of quick flat breads and is a cousin of the scone (HEEEY CUZZIN!) Scottish Bannock, also known as Selkirk Bannock, is soft and spongey and made from wheat flour. WHO KNEW?? Apparently the honest and historically accurate folks over at Wikipedia knew this [rolls eyes.]

I like to say "Bannock: Invented by the Scottish, perfected by the Cree." I don't know if this is true but isn't it fun to say that? Give it a try. Now go tell a Scot. >) Mostly I think that the Cree just make everything better...babies for example, ours are cuter than most!

Bannock, much like bologna (and babies), can be made in many ways. Let's stick to bannock making though;
You can bake it, deep fry it in oil, fry it in a pan on a stove or over a fire or wrap it around a stick and cook it over an open fire to name the most common methods.

The recipes are just as plentiful.
The regular way- white flour, lard, baking powder and water.
The fancy way - throw in some raisins.
The really fancy way - raisins AND cinnamon!
The Cree-talian way - with garlic and oregano.
The health conscious way - with whole wheat flour and olive oil.
The Shepard's bannock [pie] - stuff it with mashed potatoes, peas and hamburger.
There's much more. But let's move on.

What about fry bread bannock you ask? (Or you may be asking what is fry bread bannock?)
It's bannock mixed without the lard, rolled out and cut into squares and then deep fried in oil. The Metis slapped claims to this, that's probably why Mo' is down with it, being half crazy Metis and all. The best way to eat fry bread is to make an "Indian Taco." You get a big peice of fry bread, then layer on chilli, cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, salsa and sour cream (Uh yeah, it's just a regular taco on fry bread.)

Why do we like bannock?
Because it's easy! Flour, lard, baking powder, salt, water. Done.
It's portable and storable. You can mix all the dry ingredients (lard too) and store for 2-3. Just add water and voila, bannock!
It's versatile! You can add just about anything to it. Put some jam, butter or honey on top. Dip it in soup, stew or chilli. Make sandwiches. And as we've learned there are many ways to cook it.
It's cheap. Relatively speaking. It's cheaper than buying Wonder Bread (something else we like!)

Is bannock spiritual?
Now, I can't speak for the Wan-na-be tribe...maybe they have bannock gods, I dunno. But for me, my family, and every other Red person I've met, bannock is not anymore spiritual than any other food that we intake. So, cutting it with a knife is fine, if you like gummy ole bannock. But when it's fresh and hot, just rip off a hunk and dunk it in your tea.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

# 11 Slang...boy!

I'm going to tell you about slang (mostly what kind we use, and teeny bit about why we like it).

Let's start with the two most obvious: Red and Rez.

Red describes a person who is of [insert your preferred Red people synonym] descent. If you didn't catch on to that by now you need a slap upside the head - Granny style. I use this because it's less confusing than:
Indian, having to explain dot or feather is tired.
Native American, first all people born in the Americas are native to it, second American typically describes someone from the USA.
Aboriginal, often confused with Aborigine, typically used in Canada and is an umbrella term for Metis, First Nation, and Inuit.
First Nation, implies there is a second nation and is a word used predominately by Red and non Red bureaucracies to describe band status holding Red people.

Rez is an Indian Reservation where some Red people dwell. Often referred to as "The Rez" but is not the official name of "A" Rez.

That was easy...let's get specific.

My Rez has some of the best slang I've ever heard (and I'm not being biased, I've been to my share of Rezes and to say the least, we know what's up.)

First, shortening words is for amateurs. All color groups do it, we're not special in that making reservation into "Rez" really isn't all that original. However, the way the shortened version is used is interesting. I would never walk into The Keg and say, "Hi, Rez for Space Cowgirl."

Second, making up new words is easy too. "Foof." That's not a word! It means, "F*ck off, you're bullshitting." It's roots are in F*ck, hence the F and "Poof" as in smelly or stinky, much like bullshit (I'm guessing here, I've never actually smelled a bull's shit.)

Third, giving existing words new definitions is not new either. One word with two or more definitions is called a Homonym (if you think I'm lying to you here's where you would say "Foof.") One of these homonyms include; tight as in cheap or good looking. "That guy is TIGHT!" This is also generational. If someone called me "tight" I would be offended, because I'm a pretty generous person. But if someone called my 13 year old cousin tight, she would probably have a hickey a few minutes later.

Fourth, combining words. I'm sure all people do this. But none so much as us and definitely not more than my home Rez. Here's my favorites:
"Okaso!" means "OK, so?" as in "OK, I heard you. But so what?" and
"'Sif!" means "As if!"
"What're" means "What are" as in "What are you talking about?"
"O'er'der" means "Over there."
"You'se" means more than one you, as in "What are you two people talking about."
"K'den" means "Okay then"
"S'kiddin'" means "Just Kidding."
A Red gal once told me that she always knows people from my Rez because of the way we combine our words - it sounds like we're singing. Awww isn't that nice? I just thought our tongues were to lazy for enunciation.

Fifth, Rez specific slang.
K'atl'odeeche (Holla!) says, "How rude!" It started in the early 90s and it just kept going. It's not really slang, but it specific to them.
And they use it when people are not being particularly rude...weird. (If you're from K'at, here's where you would say "How rude!")

Lil Sask (What's up!!), says "AH WAH!" usually in response to something someone said, "F*ck off, you're lyin'" or something that is stupid or funny, "Wow! That was stupid/funny."

Peguis (heck yeah, Peguis!) has "Saaaaaaaaaaaaay!" ("no way!" and/or "I think you're lying.")
Person 1: "I won $2000 at bingo last night."
Person 2: "Saaaaaaaaaaaaay!
Person 1: "Honest!" (this may be the stupidest conversation I've ever heard.)

That area also OWNS, "cheeky," pronounced chee-KAY and "boy."In Peguis boy is used at the end of the sentence, where in Fisher River (Fish'r Riv!!)  it is used at the beginning.
Peguis: "You're ever cheeky, boy."
Fisher River: "Boy, you're ever cheeky."

Sixth, words that sound like swears, but they're not,
Heckin' (F*ckin')
Cupcake and Fox Lake (F*ck sake)
Bass Fish (Bastard)
Ninpow (F*ck You)
Fudge (F*ck)... ya get the idea.

Seventh, a quick dictionary for you.
Cheeky, someone is rude and smart mouthed. "Yer a cheeky one aren't ya?"
Crabbid, someone who is cross, harsh, cynical, sour or bitchy. "TMF is just crabbid today!"
Bii, someone who is a bitch. "Darcy is a Bii!"
Snag, hit on and subsequently pick up someone you may or may not be attracted to. "Guess I'll go snag this weekend."
Ole, used to describe anyone who may or may not be old. "Ole Shy Bob was at the store today."
Errrrr, used to describe something disgusting. "Errrr! 'Sif I'd snag Ole Shy Bob!"
Rezzy, something unique to a rez.
Teepee Creeper, someone who plays the field (a male or female in charge of their sexual prowess.)
Wan-na-be, a fictional tribe used to categorize a non red person who wants to be Red and usually claims their great-great-great-great grandmother was a Cherokee princess *roll eyes*
Apple, someone who is red on the outside but white on the inside.
Indian Time, typically describes being late. But will get you in trouble from elders if you use it, because Red people were usually early or arrived precisely when they meant to.
Bannock Bum, someone who has a flat bum.
Bannock Bunny, someone who snags at pow wows.
Puck Bunny, someone who snags at hockey games.

Finally, my favorite, incorporating Red language words into English conversation.
You've all heard "Weenuk." There is the real definition and the definition we let people think is real. The definition we let you think it is, is penis. There. Now you know. Go forth and use it, so we can laugh at you.

Shamaganis - means cops. As in "Duck! It's Shamaganis!" or Boogieman...which is funny. Cops, boogeyman... same thing right?

"Weetigo"- is also used for boogieman.

Neechi. It means friend. It's a term of endearment when used by other Neechis. Not to be used by non Neechis... just like another N word we know, right?! Unless you're referring to Neechi Foods, in which case stop reading this and go get me some raisin fry bread!

So, why do we like slang? There are several reasons, most of which are not specific to Red people.
It's cultural, as we've learned slang is specific to many places. Which means people from a specific place learn it from birth or new people are socialized to it. Therefore it makes all people unique. Which really doesn't make anyone unique considering all people have some form of slang...where's my fry bread??