“Flavors of Diversity” gives students food for thought

The Culture and Cuisine Series is meant to challenge the way students think about various cultures.


Photo by Keith Weller

Viviana Lopez, Contributing Writer

Diverse dishes representing various Native American cultures were tasted by students in an educational event hosted by the Office of Diversity and Multicultural Affairs.

“Flavors of Diversity” was the theme of Wednesday’s Culture and Cuisine Series in the Student Union.

Before the tasting, food preparers gave a brief backstory including the contents of the meal and where it originates. After students sampled the foods, guest Dr. Bridwell-Briner discussed what it means to be a part of Native American culture.

Briner, who is Kiowa, Plains Apache and Comanche, discussed the problem of asking the percentage of Native American a person is.

“It’s not about how you look but your [connections]. Who your people are…We have an idea of a national indian, and how someone is supposed to look like,” Briner said.

She stressed that being part of Native American lineage cannot be determined by blood numbers.

ODMA student assistant Ellie Vilakazi joined the conversation with Briner to address questions like, why do we enjoy foods from other cultures and what kind of significance do these dishes have?

“Food is such a necessary part of being a human being, it represents our relationship between people and the environment in which we live,” Vilakazi said.

The next time students eat food from a different culture, Vilakazi hoped students would consider the significance of its culture.

“What do these foods mean to these people…within their own country, within their culture context and what does this mean as a global context?”

Viviana Lopez is a contributing writer for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, email [email protected]