- In my career I'm focusing on traditional Pawnee foods, before Columbus.
So no dairy, no chicken, no processed sugar.
These foods were forced upon us.
Because of that we now have the highest rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and it's proven that when we stop eating those foods, all of those things go away.
(upbeat music) (speaking foreign language) My name is Hillel Echo-Hawk, I am a member of the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.
I am also Irish and Athabaskan.
I own and operate Birch Basket, which is a catering company.
For the most part, the events are small enough that I can just do it.
But then when its larger events, I hire people.
People who are helping me are both gonna be late.
It'll be fine.
Both gonna be late.
So the event that I'm going to cater is the grand opening of the city of Seattle Arts Gala.
I am catering for about 125.
This is the largest that I've done for my company.
The menu is, the Pawnee deep preservation blue corn mush, with Ojibwa maple syrup, honey Lakota popcorn, cedar cooked tepary beans, with pine roasted butternut squash, and sweet potatoes with pecans.
I always include something from my tribe.
It's Pawnee blue corn.
You can only get it from the Pawnee Seed Preservation Project.
When I grew up I didn't have it because I grew up in Alaska.
Once I started on this path and I was like, everybody needs to know what this is.
I typically hire friends.
I try to keep it native.
Phillip Twist, he was my first boss actually in the kitchen.
And Brit Reed went to the same culinary school that I went to.
- It's beautiful.
- I was a little disappointed they didn't order any protein.
- Yeah, they're not paying enough for protein.
- I was really hoping - They originally - for some Bison.
- wanted like a thousand dollar budget.
- A thousand dollars for 150 people.
A thousand dollars... - Well, actually it was the City of Seattle.
- for 150 people.
We were here until four in the morning.
I got less than an hour and a half of sleep.
(electronic music) The food wasn't getting up to temp fast enough.
So that set us back.
(electronic music) It just seemed like everything went wrong.
Hi Jenny, It's Hillel.
I'm just calling to let you know that I'm running late.
I hate being late, I hate it.
- [GPS] Head South on Aurora Avenue, north toward John Street.
Then turn right onto John Street.
- If I go back.
I'm going in a circle.
- [GPS] Turn right onto Taylor - [GPS] Avenue North.
- I'm surprised they haven't been calling me.
Hopefully, yeah, I don't know if I can leave this.
I'm so embarrassed.
This is not a good look.
(crowd talking) - [Female Attendee] I see your signature popcorn is here.
- [Hillel] A variation of it yeah.
- [Female Attendee] How are you?
- Stressed out, how are you?
(crowd talking) - (speaking foreign language) My name is Hillel Echo-Hawk, and I am from the Pawnee Nation of Oklahoma.
I am very grateful to have been asked to prepare this meal.
It was a great honor.
It's all precolonial.
I don't feed our people colonial items.
This event was not typical of a Birch Basket event.
So many things went wrong.
But people loved the food.
You know, I had a couple people ask me for recipes even.
So that was good.
In 10 years, I see myself still catering, still doing pop-ups, still doing education.
What I would love to see is every tribe in their schools have gardens.
Teaching kids how to grow food like we used to.
If you are part of the agriculture, then it helps with that trauma that we've had.
Pressure to cook a meal for some indigenous people, some people in the film industry.
- I only got two dishes to represent myself and my peoples, so I gotta bring it.
- I've never had any food like this.
- [Woman] Have you never had rabbit?