Transcript: What is Pemmican? | Jun 26, 2019

A caption reads “What is Pemmican?”

A man shows different cooking ingredients.

The caption changes to ‘Patrick Nadjiwon. First Nations Knowledge Keeper.”

Patrick is in his sixties, with long wavy gray hair in a ponytail and wears sunglasses, a blue T-shirt and a black jacket.

He says PEMMICAN IS MADE OF DRIED MEAT,
MIXED WITH RENDERED FAT.
YOU MIX IT IN WITH
BERRIES, TOO, AS WELL.
AND THE BERRIES ADDED VITAMIN C,
SO IT IS A VERY GOOD FOOD SOURCE
IN THE WINTER TIMES.
THE DRY DRIED POWDERED MEAT
COULD BE BUFFALO,
COULD BE MOOSE,
IT COULD BE ELK, DEER.
THE MEAT HAS TO BE THIN SO
IT’S DRIED OUT PROPERLY.
YOU’D HAVE A BASE,
AND YOU’D HAVE YOUR
PIECE OF MEAT IN THERE,
AND YOU WOULD POUND IT INTO A
POWDER, ALL DAY LONG.
THEY WOULD STORE IT IN EITHER
BIRCH BARK CONTAINERS,
HUGE ONES...
OR ANIMAL SKINS.
AND THAT WOULD KEEP AT
ROOM TEMPERATURE.
AND IT COULD ACTUALLY LAST
FOR ABOUT FOUR YEARS,
SO IT WAS EXCELLENT
SURVIVAL FOOD.
BUT IT BECAME IMPORTANT FOR THE
EXPLORERS AND THE VOYAGERS
AND THE METIS AND THE INDIGENOUS
PEOPLE AT THE TIME,
TO ENSURE THEIR SURVIVAL.

A picture of an old canister says “In 1924, this canister was found in the Arctic. It had pemmican inside, thought to be from the Franklin Expedition of 1845. Testing determined that the pemmican could be eaten. It was aged nearly 80 years.”

Patrick says THERE’S JUST SO MUCH THAT OUR
PEOPLE HAVE ALREADY
GIVEN OUT THERE TO SOCIETY,
THAT PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE
IS THERE,
AND THAT CAME FROM US.

The caption changes to “The Canadian government is researching pemmican. They believe it could be useful in food crisis situations.”

The end credits roll.

Video by Allana McDougall.

Video Manager, Hannah Sung.

Watch: What is Pemmican?