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Urban Rez: The Streetwise Makers of the New Indigenous Tacos

Like most people, every single Indigenous Taco is different.

They are best homemade, with a recipe that compasses passed-on traditions, but with enough elbow room to make it their own. It is that real tradition that keeps Natives on their toes—never knowing when the Government will try to take everything…again.

But I have never had a bad Indigenous Taco, even from the schlock-mavens at the State Fair of Oklahoma.

When I first wrote about them on this site and their commercialization at the long-gone Taco Mayo on Classen, the whole world has been opened to my piece of own decorated frybread, with extra cheese, please.

From the simple fundraiser for the little-league baseball team to mainstream places like the Firelake Frybread Restaurant and their intriguing takes on the dish, it’s all about the ingrained Ingenious ingenuity that makes it all come together as a dish to share with the world.

This quest for fry-bread perfection is what brought me in last weekend as a friend had a fundraiser featuring hand-crafted Indigenous Tacos. Held outside in the open-space of 89th Steet music venue, Tafv Tahdooahnippah and her friend Laura were frying batter in what delt like 0-degree weather.

As her cooler filled with fresh pieces of steaming frybread for plating, I was salivating as the bubbling grease-bath gave way to a stream of delicious pro-commodities born out of the patchy snow.

With a mountainous bundle ready to taste, the cooler was brought to the one-woman assembly line for the forefront. Skillfully and aesthetically, she built my own Indigenous Taco by hand, topping it with lettuce, tomatoes, and shredded cheese.

She then, creatively, tacked on spinach, a little helping of ground meat, and most surprising of all, kidney beans, putting her own trademark on the classic dishes.

As my plastic fork conformed to the Indigenous Taco, I felt like I had been given a masterpiece from an edible artist, marveling how the recipe hasn’t between co-opted by a colonizer.

The pillowy frybread—not too big, not too small—was a perfect foil to my waiting mouth, as every morsel was well-positioned and well-intentioned to my abating hunger.

With my permanently-fractured voice momentarily silenced, I passionately downed this Indigenous Taco, giving credence to the Maker and this maker. I was thankful that I had this meal, and with some extra frybread on the ride home, I was even more than satisfied.

Marking on my calendar that Tafv plans another fundraiser next month, February 19th, at Blue Note, 2408 N. Robinson, at around 2 p.m. I am more than ready for the next one.

Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler and Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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