October: A Time for Newness and Renewed Energy
Let the Land be our teacher.
Fall is a time of letting go and refreshing our beauty bags. The trees and plants let go of their leaves so that they can turn their attention inward and generate the energy they need for new growth. We take inspiration from nature in our everyday practices, ingredients, and mindset. Learning to let go of what no longer serves us this month – whether it is clutter, relationships, self-criticism, or unhealthy habits to try and create a space for new things to grow this season.
More specifically, we have gathered inspiration from three of our special foods harvested during this time of year.
Like many foods, maize (corn) and Indigenous communities have developed a harmonious relationship with one another. As a food staple that has sustained our communities, we regard it as one of our sacred plants, carrying and passing down our knowledge and history.
Over the years, we’ve purposefully transformed and evolved corn through a variety of cultivation techniques. It’s known to have been developed from a wild grass plant called ‘teosinte’ from Central America. Corn is not only a source of nutrition, but is the center of our cultural traditions and spirituality.
Since 2012, the International Indigenous Peoples Corn Conference on Corn has been created to unite dozens of Indigenous communities including farmers, food sovereignty activists, knowledge keepers, Tribal leaders, our youth, and elders to share information, seeds, traditional knowledge, and strategies to protect our harvesting practices.
Did you know? Our new Blush/Bronzer Duos are formulated using corn as one of its main ingredients! Its highly nourishing, botanical properties allow you to softly sculpt using naturally derived pigments (available in three shades Fair, Medium, and Deep). Corn is high packed with fiber to keep you energized throughout the day, and many naturally derived makeup and skincare products include cornstarch to treat oily skin, take advantage of its fine texture as an exfoliator, and it’s rich in vitamin C to help boost immunity.
Even before corn and beans, there was the pumpkin. Native to Mexico, it is believed that pumpkins were a naturally hybridized variation of squash. The harvest of the pumpkin was especially popular among the Apaches, Navajo, Havasupai, Hopi, Pima and Yuman tribes of the southwestern US. Every part was carefully used. From the seeds to the outer shell, nothing was left to waste.
The seeds were roasted and spiced with chili powder, or combined with nuts and dried fruit along journeys and as a sustainable snack. For meals, the flesh was often cut into pieces and baked in ovens or directly over coals, or mashed pumpkin into batter or added to soup. Other parts were dried and sliced into rings to be stored for the winter.
Pumpkins have long served as a staple in our ancestors’ food, medicine, and art. When we respect our resources, we can provide a sustainable future for our children and many generations to come.
Just when the trees are vividly tinted and the birds are flying south, the lgonkian and Siouan of the Great Lakes would gather in the grain rising from the waters. Although this special food is known as wild rice, it is actually a type of grass! Not only has it been a reliable, lightweight supplement for our hunters throughout their journey, but adapted as a vital source to traders who spread across the country. Through our relationship and dependence on wild rice, we would have starved before reaching the plains and the buffalo.
Beads may have replaced porcupine quills, aluminum canoes may have replaced birch-barks, and iron pots have taken the place of pottery, but wild rice remains the same. In honour of its reliability and trading value, wild ricing is still a significant event among our communities, hardly changing the process from our ancestors. Today, many Indigenous dishes are created to keep honouring the tradition such as Wild Rice Stuffing and Wild Rice Cakes.
Together, we graciously celebrate and give our thanks to the fall harvest through our songs, dance, ceremonies, and of course feasting! Nothing goes to waste. We honour and pass down our traditions in everything we do because we are #SustainableByNature!
The team at Cheekbone Beauty
(Resources: http://www.nativetech.org/cornhusk/cornhusk.html, https://www.byrdie.com/cornstarch-beauty-tips, https://aihd.ku.edu/foods/pumpkins.html, https://www.canadashistory.ca/explore/first-nations-inuit-metis/wild-rice-harvest)