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Home : News : News
NEWS | Dec. 2, 2021

Cooking class allows JBSA-Randolph youth to learn about Native American foods, culture

By David DeKunder 502nd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Members of the Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Youth Center learned about and participated in a hands-on cooking class on Native American food during an event in observance of American Indian Heritage Month Nov. 18.

The cooking demonstration was led by Ed Blauvelt, chair of the JBSA-Randolph American Indian Heritage Committee. Blauvelt, with the help of the youths, prepared two different Native American dishes in the center’s cooking area, including Northern wild rice with cranberries and poyha, a type of meatloaf, made with ground chicken and cornmeal.

This was the fifth year the JBSA-Randolph American Indian Heritage Committee has held a cooking class at the JBSA-Randolph Youth Center.

Angela Davis, JBSA-Randolph Youth Programs child and youth assistant, said 11 children participated in the cooking class and helped out by cutting up onions and bell peppers for the recipes they got to taste.

“The kids enjoyed it,” Davis said. “They asked questions and they were engaged. I was glad he (Blauvelt) came by and shared his Native American cuisine and culture.”

Blauvelt said the youth were very interested in learning about the American Indian people and their lives.

“The interactions between me and the youth is always a fun time,” Blauvelt said. “I have known some of these kids for several years and to see them return each year is awesome.  We have a great time together working on the meal and discussing foods used by American Indians and how these American foods make up the mainstay of our foods today.

“The youth were each responsible for a portion of the meal,” Blauvelt added. “Some chopped, some cooked, some measured, others read the directions; it was a complete team effort, just as American Indian families do.”

Despite their activities being limited this year because of COVID-19, the JBSA-Randolph American Indian Heritage Committee is still helping and giving back to their local community. The committee recently held a food drive for a local church, donating $400 in food and over $200 in back-to-school supplies. Committee members also helped out with the city of Schertz food distribution program for those in need. 

The committee continues to educate the surrounding communities on the contributions Native Americans have made to the local area. Members of the committee gave a presentation to the city of New Braunfels Newcomer Committee on the Tonkawa people that once lived in their area.

For the past 11 years, the JBSA-Randolph American Indian Heritage Committee has sponsored a scholarship essay contest with local high schools, which has resulted in the committee giving out $9,000 in scholarships. In addition, the committee has held an art contest at Randolph High School and the JBSA-Randolph Youth Center, where the contest winners have submitted their work in the Boys and Girls Club statewide art contest, with some of them winning at the state level.

Since 1990, American Indian Heritage Month has been observed in November. It was created to honor the contributions of Native Americans to our nation’s history and culture, including those who have served in the armed forces. It’s also referred to as American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month.

For more information about and to join the JBSA-Randolph American Indian Heritage Committee, call 210-652-8529.