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The library is more than just books. Every month, the Milwaukee Public Library joins Lake Effect to share resources, book recommendations and cool stuff you might not know about.

November 2022's Book of the Month celebrates Native American Heritage

This month's book picked by Kelly Bolter, the Library Services Manager at the Central branch, focuses on Native Heritage.

Every month, we partner with the Milwaukee Public Library for our Book of the Month Series to bring you new reading recommendations.

November is American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month, a time to recognize and celebrate the diverse cultures of Native people. This month's book picked by Kelly Bolter, the Library Services Manager at the Central branch, focuses on Native Heritage.

It's The Sioux Chef's Indigenous Kitchen' by Sean Sherman. Sherman is a chef and member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe. He operates Owamni, a James Beard award winning restaurant in Minneapolis. His recipes use Indigenous American fruits, vegetables, foraged ingredients, game and fish.

"They're all items that, you know, and foods that surround us in nature," Bolter says about the recipes found in Sherman's book.

Sherman explains why he takes this approach to cooking by going back to his roots growing up on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota in the 70s.

"At the beginning of the book [he] goes into his background, why Indigenous food systems are something that we should be cherishing and protecting. Because they're so much part of our natural environment and you know, it's our responsibility to be stewards of this earth that is also providing these things for us," Bolter says.

Thanksgiving takes place in November and Sherman wrote an article for TIME about the complicated history of the holiday for Native people and his approach to cooking for the holiday.

"He talks about how he likes to frame things, giving us a way to come together with people and celebrate the spirit of generosity and gratitude, but then incorporate, you know, Native [foods] and you know, really cook dishes that are locally sourced and also honoring those traditions of his heritage," Bolter says.

The library system is hosting a Holiday Community Meal at the Mitchell Street Branch on Nov. 22. You can register to attend here.

"It's meant to bring community together again and also really serve as a way to, you know, for the library to do something to help build healthy communities in Milwaukee. Be that go-to spot where you can learn about cooking...you can pick up a cookbook at the Mitchell Street Library...share this experience with your neighbors, maybe make some new friends," Bolter says.

Mallory Cheng was a Lake Effect producer from 2021 to 2023.
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