fry bread

Encyclopedia Article


It is commonly believed that fry bread is a result of Navajo contact with white settler colonial practices, specifically during their 1864 internment at Fort Sumner after their forced Long Walk from their traditional homelands near Canyon de Chelly, Arizona to the Bosque Redondo location of Fort Sumner in the Pecos River Valley in New Mexico . During their captivity, the Navajo couldn't grow or cook traditional corn-based foods, so they used government supplies to make fry bread, a flat unleavened bread fried in oil. Government subsidies of traditional foodstuffs continues to undermine indigenous cultural cuisine, health, and lifeways to this day.

Photo Credit: 

"Navajo woman cooking fry bread for a wedding, 1975," photograph by John Running, the John Running Collection (160017). Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. All Rights Reserved, Use with permission only.

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