Convocation led by renowned chef and indigenous foods champion Sean Sherman, aka The Sioux Chef

October 17, 2016

Renowned chef and indigenous foods champion Sean Sherman, aka The Sioux Chef, will present the Carleton convocation on Friday, Oct. 21 from 10:50 to 11:50 a.m. in the Skinner Memorial Chapel. In his presentation, “The New Native American Cuisine,” Sherman will discuss the importance of revitalizing indigenous foods systems in a modern culinary context.

Carleton convocations are free and open to the public. They are also recorded and archived for online viewing at

A member of the Oglala Lakota tribe, Sherman was born in Pine Ridge, South Dakota, and lived on the Pine Ridge Reservation until moving west to Spearfish when he was 13. As a teen, he worked in restaurants to help support his family and later worked for the U.S. Forest Service in the Black Hills as a field surveyor, sampling and studying the Dakota flora.

He has now been cooking for close to 30 years, all the while studying extensively to determine the foundations of indigenous food systems, drawing from the knowledge of the Lakota and Ojibwe tribes who farmed and foraged on the plains of the Midwest.

Today, Sherman is at the forefront of a national food movement that he and other chefs are calling “new Native American cuisine” or “indigenous cuisine,” which honors the knowledge of Native American farming techniques, wild food usage and harvesting, land stewardship, salt and sugar making, hunting and fishing, food preservation, Native American migrational histories, elemental cooking techniques, and Native culture and history.

In 2014, he launched The Sioux Chef as a caterer and food educator in the Minneapolis/Saint Paul area. In 2015 in partnership with the Little Earth Community of United Tribes in Minneapolis, he and his business partner Dana Thompson designed and opened the Tatanka Truck, a food truck which features pre-contact foods of the Dakota and Minnesota territories. In their cooking, The Sioux Chef avoids use of pork, chicken and beef, and there is no sugar, dairy, chicken eggs or wheat flour. These American staples were not historically available to indigenous tribes and Sherman considers his cooking to be a reclamation of Native American identity.

The Sioux Chef team continues with their mission statement to help educate and make indigenous foods more accessible to as many communities as possible. They are part of a vital group that stretches across North America and Canada using food culture to celebrate and empower native people.

This year, Sherman launched a Kickstarter campaign in the hopes of opening the nation’s first true indigenous restaurants. The Sioux Chef: An Indigenous Kitchen quickly became one of Kickstarter’s most successful fundraising projects; Sherman and his team plan to open the restaurant in Minneapolis in early 2017, with goals of eventually also expanding into a culinary center and school focused on indigenous food systems.

Chef Sean and his vision of modern indigenous foods have been featured in many articles and radio shows, including The New York Times and National Public Radio, along with featured dinners at the James Beard Foundation in Milan and Slow Foods Indigenous Terra Madre in India. More at

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Convocations Committee. For more information, including disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4308. The Skinner Memorial Chapel is located on First and College Streets in Northfield.