December 08, 2010

Tehachapi restaurant teaches "Native culture"?

Tehachapi Restaurant Teaches Native American Culture

Red House BBQ Opens Community's Eyes To Different Way Of Life

By Kimberly Foley
Native American culture is something often taught in school, but rarely can one learn about it by just simply walking in a restaurant. Red House BBQ in Tehachapi is doing just that by combining food and decor.

"It's a lifestyle," said Mano Lujan, owner of Red House BBQ. "It's how we live; it's how we believe."

Now Lujan has found a way to share his culture with his entire community by adding barbeque to traditional Native American foods.

"We didn't just eat acorns and buffalo," said Lujan. "We actually have a cuisine. It's simple, but simple is good."
And:It's not only the food that reflects Native American culture, but also the decor. It includes artwork, animals, and teepees. Customers can sit in teepees and eat. Lujan said he decorated that way because his dream restaurant wasn't just about food.

"It was about understanding," said Lujan. "It was about people kind of learning about my culture in a new way."
Comment:  Some problems with this posting:

  • I've never heard of barbecue called a Native food or cooking style.

  • There's no such thing as a single "Native culture." Lujan should specify which culture he's from--perhaps somewhere in the Southwest, judging by his name.

  • Unless he's from a Plains tribe, tipis aren't part of Lujan's culture. And again, they aren't part of some monolithic "Native culture."

  • Lujan's restaurant is in Tehachapi, California, where the Tehachapi Indians used to live. It would be much more educational if he displayed Tehachapi culture rather than whatever culture he's from. This would teach one of the most important lessons Americans need to learn: that most Indians don't fit the stereotypical Plains mold.

  • For more on the subject, see Kathy Griffin in a Headdress and Prison Seeks Generic Medicine Man.

    Below:  "Restaurant teaches that Indians lived in tipis...who knew?


    Anonymous said...

    Barbacoa is a TaĆ­no word.

    Rob said...

    A valid point:

    But the cooking method came to us after several hundred years of adaptation in Mexico and the American Southwest and Southeast. Unless the restaurant is using the original Taino method, I wouldn't call it a Native cooking style. It's derived from the Native style, but it probably isn't the Native style itself.

    And if barbecue is the only Native cooking the restaurant offers, we have the problem of the tipis. Barbecue and tipis don't belong to one Native culture. They belong to two different and widely separated Native cultures (Plains and Caribbean).

    mano said...

    First off, I am Lakota. It is not my fault that this was not shown on tv. Before you all start commenting, come in and see what you are commenting about. Bbq and all of its various spellings, is cooking meat over hardwood smoke. Something that Native people have been doing for thousands of years. Come in and your questions will be answered. I asked the permission of the local tribal elders as is our custom. They have no problem with me sharing some of my Lakota ways within their tribal area. Why should you?

    Anonymous said...

    @ Mano, which Lakota Tribe are you enrolled in?


    mano said...

    @ anonymous. Why don't you post your name? I have my "poodle papers". How about you?

    Rob said...

    I bet people all over the world have cooked meat over hardwood smoke, Mano. Unless your restaurant is doing something uniquely Native, I wouldn't call it a Native cooking technique.

    If you told the reporter you were Lakota and she didn't report it, that's her fault. But the tipis are your responsibility. They're not a significant part of Lakota culture today, which makes them stereotypical.

    Anonymous said...

    @ Mano, hmmmm, I politely asked you what Tribe you're from, which is a legitimate question. It seemed odd that the article said that you were half Indian and didn't say which Tribe. As you know all Indians identify themselves by their Tribe, especially in a public forum such as a newspaper interview.

    Your hostility towards my simple question looks a little suspicious and makes me wonder if you are being truthful. Because it sounds like you're doing the wannabe waltz. And we all know what that means.

    As for my name it's anonymouse on this forum, has been for years. And I'm not the one claiming an Indian identity.