My mother is Indigenous Yupik Eskimo and my father is Black. My Yupik name is Qalutaq. It means, Dipping Spoon.
The literal meaning of Dipping Spoon is: “from one dip you serve other people, dip into water and the water is given to everybody, it grows and keeps going.”
When I was little girl my Yupik mother would host potlucks or gatherings at our home. Every Yupik, Inupiaq or little native ladies (as I called them) would come over and feast on traditional foods. The ladies would then commune together and take a hot maqiiq (steam bath). Even though my mom didn’t live in her village she found a sense of community and sisterhood in our little town of Wasilla.
That’s what I love about New Orleans. My new hometown. My new roots. My mothers little native lady parties are now my girls night. I love the unity, diversity, sisterhood and community of this creative magical city. The Crescent City is rich, vibrant and ripe with culture at her helm, which is her heartbeat. Which are the people, the music, Second Lines, the giant oaks, the hot sticky sweet weather and of course New Orleans dynamic cuisine.
Cultural representation in the kitchen is so important today. Representation matters. Alaska and Hawaii are rich with culture, tradition and grit. Our Indigenous people are strong, fierce, intelligent, beautiful, brave and not afraid to dip in.
A woman I admire greatly is Elizabeth Peratrovich. She was an Alaskan Native Civil Rights Hero who championed the Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945, the first anti-discrimination law in the United States. She was a civil servant to her people. She eloquently reminded the good ole’ boys club: “I would not have expected that I, who am barely out of savagery, would have to remind the gentlemen with 5,000 years of recorded civilization behind them of our Bill of Rights.” #micdrop
Ms. Peratrovich’s brave actions fought for equality, representation and justice.
I believe food should champion culture and rebel against boundaries. The Dipping Spoon scholarship allows young aspiring Indigenous and Black aspiring chefs to not only be a champion of themselves but their culture.
Our identity is what makes us unique. Culture in the kitchen is diversity in the kitchen. Investing in our community is investing in our youth. Indigenous and Black youth deserve their places in the culinary industry, future legacies await. This scholarship is the conduit for connection. Food, unites us all.
Whatever dip we take in life, I hope its delicious, a little spicy but always evolving.
xx, Charity | founder