Jake Skeets on Diné Food Traditions and the Relationship Between Food and Community
This Week from the Emergence Magazine Podcast
Emergence Magazine is an online publication with annual print edition exploring the threads connecting ecology, culture, and spirituality. As we experience the desecration of our lands and waters, the extinguishing of species, and a loss of sacred connection to the Earth, we look to emerging stories. Our podcast features exclusive interviews, narrated essays, stories and more.
In this story, Diné poet and author Jake Skeets honors the food traditions that have sustained his people since time immemorial. As he prepares to butcher a sheep for Kinaałda, a Diné puberty ceremony of family and song, Jake contemplates reclaiming culture and restoring the relationships between people and land, food and community.
Summoning the experiences that have shaped his own kinship with food, he puts forth story as a pathway to food sovereignty, reminding us that “the beauty of the beyond and the beauty of the world” come together in each bite.
Jake Skeets is Black Streak Wood, born for Water’s Edge. He is Diné from Vanderwagen, New Mexico. He is the author of the poetry collection Eyes Bottle Dark with a Mouthful of Flowers, winner of the National Poetry Series and the American Book Award. He holds an MFA in poetry from the Institute of American Indian Arts. He won the 2018 Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Contest and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is a member of Saad Bee Hózhǫ́: A Diné Writers’ Collective and currently teaches at Diné College in Tsaile, Arizona.