The Decolonizing Diet Project (DDP) was a pilot study of the relationship between humans and Indigenous foods of the Great Lakes Region. Dr. Martin Reinhardt, associate professor of Native American Studies served as the principal investigator and a research subject for the DDP.

The planning phase of the project ran from 2010 to 2012. The implementation phase ran from March 25, 2012 to March 24, 2013. The analysis and reporting phase was from March 25, 2013 to Summer of 2014.

Dr. Reinhardt authored a chapter in the following publication about the outcomes of the DDP:

Reinhardt, M. (2015). “Spirit food: A multidimensional overview of the Decolonizing Diet Project”. Indigenous Innovation: Universalities and Peculiarities, eds., E. Sumida Huaman and B. Sriraman. Rotterdam: Sense.

Reinhardt co-authored a DDP Cookbook with fellow research subjects Leora Lancaster and April Lindala:

Reinhardt, M., Lancaster, L., and Lindala, A. (2016). Decolonizing Diet Project Cookbook. Featuring Indigenous food recipes from the Great Lakes Region. Marquette, MI: Northern Michigan University, Center for Native American Studies. Reinhardt is currently working on another chapter for an upcoming publication which will feature his and his wife's (Tina Moses) reflections about the DDP.

A DDP Three Year Follow-Up Study was recently conducted by K. Nim Reinhardt, a senior nursing student and Indian Health Services Scholar/McNair Scholar at NMU (and yes, she is Dr. Reinhardt's older daughter too). Findings from this study may be submitted for publication soon also.

The DDP continues to influence many other projects and has a wide following on Facebook and in communities around the world. Dr. Reinhardt continues to present on the project and will be looking at future projects related to the outcomes of the DDP.

We would like to thank all of those who have assisted with the DDP over the years and would be more than happy to answer any questions about the DDP via email at:

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Moose Meat Burgers Last Night

We enjoyed some moose meat on the grill last night thanks to family members. We also did some shopping over the weekend and yesterday and found organic free range turkey, bison, whitefish, walleye, pumpkins, squash, pure cranberry concentrate, morels, black walnuts, and ground venison. I have decided to include Domestic Turkey and Pekin Duck as part of the DDP eligible foods list. Domestic Turkey is the same specie as wild turkey. Pekin Duck is the same specie as Mallard. We will be opening the DDP group site soon, and will have our food lists posted there. We strongly encourage the public to offer any corrections about the lists. I recently sent a letter to the editor of Marquette Monthly Magazine, and in it I suggested that if potential food donors want to donate quail (among other frozen or dried food items) that they contact me. I appreciate George Lindquist's call to inform us that quail are not indigenous to the Great Lakes Region. There are two birds often called quail that are indigenous however, these include the Northern Bobwhite, and the Grouse. We will be using the Avibase bird database as our primary source for determining eligible bird species for the DDP.  The link is included on our blog under DDP links, or you can click on the following url address:

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Week of Eating Indigenous Foods

I started my week of eating Indigenous foods this morning. I plan to go until next saturday, but will not include dinner on Saturday as we are going to a spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and I don't think they will be serving anything free of post-colonial food. I encourage folks to visit the Week of Eating Indigenous Foods blog to see how things turn out. This is a good exercise for me and others that are planning on applying as research subjects for the DDP.

Wild Rice Milk

I woke up Saturday morning (my Dad's birthday) at 6am because we forgot to shut an alarm off. It sure would have been nice to sleep in! Oh well, I made good use of the time. I decided to make some wild rice milk. I used 2 pounds of wild rice, and cooked it down for 3 hours by constantly stirring and adding water when it got down to the top of the rice. After it looked like rice pudding, I used the blender to mix it with water in a 1 to 1 ratio (I filled the blender half with the rice and half with water). Oh yeah, before I forget, make sure you hold the lid down on the blender! After it was blended I poured it through a wire mesh strainer to remove the big stuff from the liquid. I set the solids aside and then further strained the liquid through an old (clean) white t-shirt (yep, the same one we used for crab apples). What remained afterward was a slightly tan colored liquid. Each blender full made about 1 quart. I mixed 1/4 cup of maple sugar with each quart and ended up with 5 quarts. I am going to use the leftover solids (what I am calling wild rice meal) in other recipes, so I froze it in 2 portions.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweet Fern, Wintergreen, and a Slippery Jack Mushroom

While out deer hunting this weekend (nope didn't get any, but saw like 15 or so) I took an opportunity to harvest some sweet fern and wintergreen leaves. I gathered the dried sweet fern one day, and then I gathered some that were still green the next day. The green ones have a much more potent smell to them, but the dried ones were easy to crush and make into powdery form. I am going to try sweet fern and wintergreen both as a seasoning on venison and also as tea. I also picked a mushroom that I later identified as a bolet using the USDA field guide. I emailed mushroom expert Dr. Dana Richter a few photos, and he confirmed my suspicion that it was in fact a bolet probably of the slippery jack variety. Kenn Pitawanakwat and I sampled the mushroom and it tasted ok, nothing to jump up and down about, but it was edible. I also showed the mushroom to Dr. Alan Rebertus, who teaches a class on mushrooms here at NMU, and he agreed that it was likely an edible bolet species. We hope to have both Alan and Dana do some consulting for the DDP next year. By the way, Alan said that there have been more than a few mushroom poisonings this year, so please be very careful if you intend to collect mushrooms.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Made Pectin and Gathered Cranberries

We were successful in making pectin from crab apples. I did the test of pouring some of the syrup into a bit of rubbing alcohol and sure enough it gelled up! I made some unsweetened crab apple sauce also. It was a real chore to seperate the stems and seeds from the rest. Someone should invent a carb apple tool like they have for big apples. I froze the crab apple sauce, and kept the syrup in the refrigerator. Sam, Alex and I went out to the cranberry bog and got a couple of containers full of cranberries the other day. Tina and I got two more containers full the next day. It has been so nice out, but it is suppose to get colder and rainy this week. I also froze the cranberries we got.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Crab Apple Syrup

Yesterday, Sam Hasek and I harvested a mkak (birch bark basket) full of crab apples from the tree near the Center for Native American Studies here on campus. I boiled them down whole for about an hour and a half last night, and then I strained it through a white t-shirt. What I found when I removed the cloth this morning was a thick syrupy liquid. It tastes very good, a bit tart and a bit sweet. I think it will tatse very good over venison steaks, wild rice, and many other indigenous foods. I think if I boiled it down a bit more, I would be able to seperate the pectin from the juice more, but it tastes so good as it is, I may just leave it. I will put the fiberous materials out for the deer this evening. Next time, I will remove stems and seeds before boiling it down so I can use the fibrous material left over as crab apple sauce. The last thing I did this morning was to mix some maple syrup with the crab apple syrup. Mmmmmm, was that good! The mixture of 2 parts crab apple syrup to 1 part maple syrup was a bit sweet, so for those folks who like it more tart, they may want to start with a 3 to 1 mixture.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pectin from Crab Apples and Cherries

I spent a couple hours yesterday researching ways to get pectin from indigenous Great Lakes plants. Domesticated apples are the most common source of pectin on the market, but apparently they are not indigenous to this region. Certain varieties of crab apples are from this region and can be used to make pectin. There are also a couple of different species of cherries that can be used. Pectin is important for making jellies. I will try replacing sugar (also an important component of jellies) with maple sugar. Interestingly enough, the USDA plant database does not list crab apples as palatable (probably because they are so tart).

I also skinned the deer last night and quartered it. I will soak the skin for a couple of weeks and then try to remove the hair. I need to set-up an area out at the old school to do my hyde tanning. I have been giving some thought to a possible topic for the next project--decolonized clothing. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

First Deer Last Night

I am very pleased to announce that I got my first deer last night out at the old school property. It was a young buck and weighed a ton (at least it felt like it). My wife Tina and my uncle Tom helped me field-dress and hang it up in the garage. I will be skinning it this evening. I was told that we are suppose to give our first deer away and that the only part we keep is the heart. I am going to save the heart for my first meal when I start the DDP in the spring. It will be a very special meal in many ways. I will also eat wild rice, leaks and berries that Tina and I harvested this year. I will drink maple sap from our trees out at the old school property. I am getting hungry just thinking about that first meal. I will donate the rest to the First Nations Food Taster at NMU on Nov 4, 2011.