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Griffith Honors Forum Lecture to feature ‘The Sioux Chef’

Chef Sean Sherman, also known as "The Sioux Chef," cooks in his Minneapolis-based kitchen.
Chef Sean Sherman, also known as “The Sioux Chef,” will host a virtual conversation with an audience at South ֱ State University as part of the Griffith Honors Forum Lecture, starting at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center. (Photo by Bill Phelps, @billphelpsstudio)

Chef Sean Sherman, also known as “The Sioux Chef,” will host a virtual conversation with an audience at South ֱ State University about his role in helping reclaim and celebrate the rich culinary heritage of Indigenous communities around the world.

The livestream of the Griffith Honors Forum Lecture featuring Sherman will start at 7 p.m. Feb. 15 at the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center.

The public is invited to attend. Free tickets are required for admission and are available on a first-come, first-served basis online. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Unclaimed seats will be filled beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Sherman, 2022 James Beard Foundation ֱ Winner and author of “The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen,” has dedicated his career to supporting and promoting Indigenous food systems and Native food sovereignty.

Sherman was born and raised on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and, after a move to Spearfish, started working in restaurants through high school and college. He also worked as a field surveyor for the forest service, which provided him an extensive knowledge of native plants. His work in restaurants continued in Minneapolis, which eventually led him to his mission.

He founded North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems, a nonprofit dedicated to addressing the economic and health crises affecting Native communities by re-establishing Native foodways. The nonprofit and its Indigenous Food Lab, a Minneapolis-based education and training center covering all aspects of Indigenous food service, are working to build and support an Indigenous infrastructure that promotes the creation and maintenance of healthy food access throughout Indigenous communities. Sherman and his team imagine a new North American food system that generates wealth and improves health in Native communities through food-related enterprises. 

Sherman’s menus are inspired by the seasons and the land, featuring traditional ingredients like bison, hand-harvested wild rice, cedar and sumac. He draws on the knowledge and culinary techniques of his ancestors to develop innovative, nutritious and flavorful dishes that incorporate wild game, fish, foraged plants and heirloom grains. 

Prior to the lecture, a private reception will feature a menu of foods inspired by Sherman with ingredients purchased through North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems and the Indigenous Food Lab, including five Indigenous dishes. Guests will include campus and community leaders, student leaders from SDSU’s American Indian Science and Engineering Society and American Indian Student Association chapters, and Indigenous students and leaders from across the region, including students from the Flandreau Indian School.

Rebecca Bott-Knutson, dean of the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College at SDSU, said Sherman’s Griffith Lecture is an event that builds upon two exciting campus endeavors. 

“This fall, the SDSU campus and community Common Read featured ‘An Immense World’ by Ed Yong. The programmatic theme was ‘Sensing Our World.’ The Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College rolled out an inaugural nationwide program called The Justice Challenge, where honors students from across the country gathered online to explore the complexities of food justice. The 2024 Griffith Honors Reception and Lecture builds upon both programs — exploring food as a sensory experience and considering the importance of culture in food justice,” she said.

Bott-Knutson said that in addition to those who will be in the Performing Arts Center for the event, several partner sites in South ֱ and across the U.S. will host additional guests to join the lecture.

“We are grateful for the generosity of Chef Sherman and his team at NATIFS as well as our program sponsors,” she added. Sponsors at SDSU include the Griffith Honors Endowment, the Van D. and Barbara B. Fishback Honors College, the College of Education and Human Sciences, the Graduate School, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the School of American and Global Studies, the Wokini Initiative and the Campus and Community Common Read. 

Learn more about and online.

For more information about the Griffith Honors Forum Lecture, email the Honors College.

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