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Peace and Frybread: Limping Down the Red Road to Tasty Redemption

Over the past few years, I have become well-acquainted with the mythical, mystical and magical NDN Taco, traveling far and wide for the good medicine of meat, beans, cheese, and, of course, the vaunted frybread.

In Oklahoma, it’s a powerful foodstuff that has nourished our people through replacements, resettlements, and, of course, the old standby of pure resentful genocide.

They haven’t beat us yet, am I right?

And while I have seen some stellar paths to greasy transubstantiation in Oklahoma, from the gritty roadside stands to the new-wave restaurants, I have to say that in my few years of stroke maintenance and mental recuperation, one thing I definitely missed is the local tribes and their NDN taco and meat pie sales.

That's why I couldn't wait to stop by one recently organized by Kiowas For A Better Future at The Church of Open Arms on N. Penn.

Taking place on a recent Saturday, and located only a few blocks from my house, I made sure to be polished and ready for the 11 a.m. starting bell to chime at the non-hateful church.

After gassing up the car and taking Sean to the dog park as a starter, I made a trek for the church. How long has it been since I've been...a couple of weeks? Months? Years?

I parked the car and swiftly hobbled—I now walk with a limp, you know?—into the house of worship…to the find line going out the kitchen doors and right into the lobby. As I folded my arms to the side and prepared for this infernal wait, the scent of disc-shaped dough being fried to a golden hue gave me the extra stamina for the long wait.

As I stood in line, I pursued the various arts, crafts and baked goods for sale, and my mind wandered – "Which dish should I order?", "What item should I take home for dessert?", and "Is someone selling a Sasquatch planner?"

As I soaked in the community feel of the event, something I missed, I also felt thankful to be there.

Church-hosted NDN Tacos fundraisers, like this, are held frequently throughout the metro, but knowing when and where to find them is a challenge. I learned of this via Patrick through a wanton Facebook post, but someone should develop an app to organize them for folks like me. In the meantime, I beg the masses to please email me when and where future sales will happen.

As I peeked in the kitchen, a faction of unknown but familiar artists were producing their well-worn trade, with gloved hands kneading the dough, stretching it out, and, carefully dropping it into the hot grease. Time stopped as I momentarily watched those women creating edible art for what felt like eons.

A couple of broad-shouldered men brought out newly-made frybread, pleased with their bounty. Meanwhile, the elderly sat in their chairs waiting for their meals and hungry children grabbed onto their mamas, wanting a taste of a fresh meatpie.

I saw all of them there that afternoon.

My freedom of choice was slightly hampered when I had a difficult decision to make at the table: should I get a straight-up NDN Taco or should I get their commodity-famous Pow-Wow Burger, with two jumbo pieces of frybread for the hamburger buns.

Lost in thought, the woman behind me tapped my shoulder. I went for the Pow-Wow Burger and, because I can’t say no, a rustically handcrafted meatpie, which, I have to say, sure beats the processed meatpies sold outside Norman filling stations.

With my bottle of water at the ready, the Pow-Wow Burger was a true treasure from Indigenous Heaven. I had to take another bite of the meat, cheese, and, of course, the frybread, and it seemed like all was right in the world.

The Father, the Spirit, and the Holy Frybread, aho!

As I got up to leave this sacred refuge, even more people were getting in line. A young man waiting nearby asked if the NDN Tacos were any good there to which I said “Man…it’s all good here.”


Follow Louis Fowler on Instagram at @louisfowler78.

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