On the reservation and at places like The Fry Bread House, fry bread constitutes more than just a once-a-year treat or an exotic ethnic delicacy. It's everyday food, a common affair and, in many cases, a family effort.

This summer morning, it was Verna Sunna who woke up in the early dawn to make the dough for the day's service. Towing the wagon and working the kitchen fell to younger siblings Jerilyn and Dew, who often receive help from Jerilyn's boyfriend, Anthony. Oldest son Paul helps with the business, while Gloria and Vernon organize and help where needed. Then, of course, there's Gayle frying the bread.

The Sunnas work hard to earn a living in the slow economy. They've gone from selling their popovers (another term for the food) at church and community events to heading out nearly every day to serve lunch somewhere on the reservation. They have a long way to go toward fulfilling Dew's vision, but if serving good food at a fair price still counts for anything, it's undeniable they're doing something right.

“Every tribe has their own way of making it,” says Gayle Noline of the Sunna Frybread Wagon.
Lauren Saria
“Every tribe has their own way of making it,” says Gayle Noline of the Sunna Frybread Wagon.
"Every tribe has their own way of making it," says Gayle Noline of the Sunna Frybread Wagon.
Lauren Saria
"Every tribe has their own way of making it," says Gayle Noline of the Sunna Frybread Wagon.

"It's a good business," Vernon says, looking around at the wagon and customers. "It's getting good."

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2 comments
fairymagic13
fairymagic13

If they would only use Mesquite Bean Flour and stevia based sweetners they would have a product I would purchase regularly and one which would not decimate the Native American population - as much.  I might eat a Frybread mean once a year.  However, there are some people who eat it every day!

Tastes like heaven but your body will never forgive you in the morning.According to Navajo tradition, frybread was created using flour, sugar, salt and lard given by the United States government when the Navajo Native Americans were relocated to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico from Arizona in 1864.Prior to that time, diabetes was pratically unknown among the indigenous peoples of North and South America!

 

From the article at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/people-places/frybread.html

 

Chaleen Brewer is a nutritionist at the Genesis Diabetes Prevention Program based in the Gila River capital of Sacaton. She says commodity foods like processed cheese, potted meats, and the lard used in making frybread are partly responsible for a "diabetes epidemic" among her people. As Secola puts it, "frybread has killed more Indians than the federal government."

 

Whether you call it Bannock, Bhatoora, Deep-fried pizza, Lángos, Fried dough, Fritters, Sconnes, Fried dough, Puri, Sopaipilla or Frybread; it's should be considered as a SMALL part of any diet - NOT A STAPLE!  I have had frybread made from mesquite bean flour and it is superior in every way to the refined white flour variety - Take back your culture my Native Brothers and Sisters - demand Mesquite Bean Frybread options from your FryBread House and other purveyors of the heavenly cloud!

 

Mercedes
Mercedes

That's a step backwards not into the future.  The LAST thing this obese, unfit nation needs is more fried dough - a food completely deviod of any nutritional benefits.

 
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