Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Tia'muei (moose meat) today. Pronounced di·aa·mu·ey.

Pjila'si again.

Today we had the moose meat we were hoping to find. One of uncle's
friends came to the rescue.
We had asked an Elder yesterday about some different traditional ways
to cook the meat. It was a surprise to be told that traditional
Mi'kmaq cooking was bland and even yesterday's smoked salmon dish was
overly livened up. We were told it should have been smoked or cooked
over an open fire with no spices or other things. Only cooked in its
own skin.

I asked uncle if we could still have some vegetables with
the venison steak today and he said yes. The fat and bone were trimmed
from the venison. The blueberries we had for dessert are highly valued
and important in spiritual ceremonies. And here is my lunch.

Food-o-meter - 10/10
Health rating - 9/10 (Not sure about the potato. Although there is
sugar in the blueberries there are also antioxidants and other good
things that outweigh the negatives.)
Bites - about 58. I savoured the berries. Cream would have been a
luxury but it is also not traditional.
Courses - Main and dessert
Price - about CDN $5.75. The venison is a gift and cannot be sold in
Nova Scotia but a comparable price for a beef T-bone is about CDN
$3.50 to buy and the
cherry tomatoes are garden fresh but we included an estimate for cost
of growing. Ten cents for the potato. Blueberries $1.50.
Pieces of hair - No hair again today.

We talked about cooking it over an open fire but it was decided not to
because of a ban on open fires due to forest fire hazard. It has been
a very dry summer all over Turtle Island.
To be more healthy uncle said it would be best to bake the meat with
vegetables in an oven. Not a traditional way but practical for today.
We decided not to fry it in fat but let the fat drain into a pan away
from the food. Moose meat is very lean and low in fat and has other
good things in it.
One of the Elders has said many of the health problems faced by the
Lnu today are because we no longer eat the traditional diet. Today Lnu
suffer from very high rates of diabetes and heart illnesses. The
mostly fish diets and eating of game animals helped prevent these
diseases in the past the Elder said. Today, like many other cultures
around the world, we are coaxed into eating refined foods, fast foods
and other things high in sugar and fats with very few good nutrients
(That's a big word for me.). Sometimes I eat these things myself, but,
my mother only lets me as a treat once or twice a month.

When the moose was killed a prayer ceremony was performed for the
moose's spirit by the Mi'kmaq hunter Alex. The ceremony is thanks to
the moose for offering itself for the Lnu to use for food, clothing
and the many other things it could be used for. Alex is also a
fisherman and spiritual leader as well as a councillor and former
Chief of the Shubenacadie First Nation at Indian Brook. How many
seconds Veg? Alex is a hunter of great reputation. It is said he can
call the deer and moose to him without using mechanical calls of any

Alex says in traditional hunting the hunter and animal have a mutual
respect. People and animals are spiritually equal. The animals were
believed to cooperate in the hunt if the hunter was properly prepared.
There are rules and rituals to follow even with the remains. For
example bones are not to be buried or given to dogs.

Jagej's uncle here.
Following are some notes about hunting that may be interesting,
however fanciful you may find it.

Hunting a moose -
The moose was the most important animal to the Mi'kmaq. During the
hunting process, the men would try to direct the moose in the
direction of the camp, so that the women would not have to to drag
the moose too far back to camp. A boy became a man in the eyes of the
community after he had killed his first moose. It was only then that
he had earned the right to marry.

Hunting generally -
The Mi'kmaq, and their cousins the Maliseet further to the west (New
Brunswick), have said animals and people talked together, implying
they understood and respected each other. The Lnu acknowledged they
had to kill animals to survive but did not see animals simply as meat.
Animals were fellow members of the broader society. People had to
acquire understanding of their prey and get his cooperation before the
hunter could be successful. The animal then surrendered to the hunter
willingly. Therein is the need for respect and honour from the hunter
and the prayer ceremony following the successful hunt.

Moose management video

Tomorrow my namesake. Yum!

Atiu (goodbye) until tomorrow. Jagej.


  1. Oh, Jagej, what a wonderful post. I especially liked hearing about your hunting traditions. Thanks for the video as well. I have tasted Moose when I lived in Alaska. It is very common in Anchorage for Moose to wander through town, especially in the winter when the snow is very deep in the surrounding mountains. They come into town where it is easier move about. They also like to lick the highways, because of the salt used to melt the snow. One has to be very careful driving around Anchorage in winter, so as not to hit a Moose. Thanks again for the wonderful post!

  2. I thank You for giving us so much valuable information. And that meal again looks very tasty ^^
    Special thanks for the bits about traditional cooking. Considering that salmon has a quite intensive taste, I can understand that there would be little need for herbs to be used when the salmon would be smoked or grilled upon an open fire.
    But would herbs be used for other meals?

    And a lack of salt and sugar in your traditional diet isn't astonishing. When people here in Europe still lived mostly as hunters, most had no chance to get any salt, too. And sugar only came to Europe a couple hundred years ago. Until then honey was about the only sweetener. Most spices came from regions far away - India or Arabia - and were expensive, if any were available at all. So "dull food" was nothing strange here for many, many hundred years ;)

    I guess what that Elder said is true - the traditional diet sure was a lot more healthy than the factory made foodstuff that most people all over the world eat today. So.. maybe listening to Your Elders really is a very good idea ;)

    The notes about hunting were also very interesting. That connection between hunter and hunted sure is a lot closer in a culture, that depends on all the animals can offer, be it meat, leather, bones... so many things one can do with one moose. In our "civilised" world, nobody thinks twice about what happens to the rest of those animals, which die to feed us. Or to their skin and bones.
    I sure couldn't live by Your standard, at least not here in Germany, but I do restrict myself to eat no animal I wouldn't be able (or at least ready) to kill and skin myself.


  3. If only more people in our modern society had such respect for the land and the animals, our world would be a better place for everyone. This is the way it was meant to be with people living in harmony with the land and having respect for all living things and each other.

  4. This is so interesting, thank you "Lobster" and Uncle for sharing. I agree with "The Mrs" and her post from 9.4.12, children in the US are not aware of nutrition and where is the 5th grader who would eat potatoes without fatty toppings and be happy to eat fresh blueberries for dessert AND also know of the antioxident properties?? As long as the USDA calls pizza a vegetable, there isn't much hope for US kids to recognize or eat nutritious foods. Other countries and parents are doing the outstanding education the US should copy!!!

  5. Another really interesting and informative edition, thanks x

  6. Hello Jagej and family, thank you for the excellent posts.
    Oh and another nice cutlery :)
    I wonder how does venison taste?

  7. The dishes shown this week so far (salmon and moose) have looked lovely - nicely presented and appetising. I've never eaten moose, but have eaten venison pretty often - it too is a very lean meat and I think very healthy. Luckily where I live (northern Scotland) venison and other game meat is fairly easily available in local butchers and occasionally from friends who offer grouse or pheasant when they have a surplus. It is really interesting to read your posts this week - food that is healthy and looks good :)

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your culture and food traditions with us. It's great that these postings have involved your community as well (speaking to an elder, getting moose from a hunter, etc.). Very interesting for me especially because Uncle and cousins belong to the Chickasaw Nation in the U.S., and it's really cool to see the similarities and differences in the traditional Tribal diets.