Straight outta Austin, the Honorable Rep. Gina Hinojosa filed a resolution to make tacos the official state food of Texas. If it passes, I applaud Texas for not only honoring Latino culture, but for recognizing the culinary artistry that makes the Lone Star State so great, especially at a time where many people believe us to be “criminals and rapists.”
This past Friday, I stopped by the Pete White Health and Fitness Center, 4021 S. Walker to support my local Oklahoma City Pow Wow Club and their monthly Indian Taco fundraiser; as I stood there, watching the Indigenous women in the kitchen, proud of their delectable wares, making that vaunted frybread with such hand-crafted precision, I was hit with a startling realization: lawmakers should name Indian Tacos the Official State Food of Oklahoma.
Besides, you know, returning Native land and granting us full sovereignty over them, what better way to pay tribute to this state and its original denizens than by showcasing frybread, once a method of pure survival, and thanks to the Navajos, an evolutionized creation made from the barely-there commodities given to us by the Government.
Once the thing of various tortured walks of relocation now, frybread—and the Indian Taco especially—is a famed foodstuff that many people, Native or otherwise, devour on the most special of moments. And, as delicious as it is, the Indian Taco is far more significant for what it actually represents: overcoming adversity.
There is a certain kind of adversity most Oklahomans have dealt with repeatedly living here, in its various relative forms; for every stark injustice, pivotal set-back and God-given disaster, Oklahoma and its usually downtrodden people have continually managed to survive, for better not worse, just like Native people did and continue to do.
We’ve managed to stand strong and have kept our traditions very alive, including our culinary histories—culminating in that big basket of frybread that just about every tribe in the state has adopted as their own.
Recently, Oklahoma Sen. Casey Murdock of Felt, Oklahoma—who works as a rancher, by the way—has authored a bill to make the rib-eye the Official Steak of Oklahoma. As much as I love a good rib-eye, most people can’t really afford a nice thick cut of beef like that—the last rib-eye I bought was on clearance, green around the edges and emanating a foul odor—but everyone can afford some flour, water and a bit of lard.
At least I hope they can.
So senators and congressmen, please heed the call—the harmony of simmering oil, the melody of that dough in the fryer and the satisfied sounds of a deep-seated hunger being satiated with a mixture of beans and meat, cheese and lettuce, salsa and jalapeños. But, Oklahoma lawmakers, if you need a little bit more sonorous noise, here’s Oklahoma’s own Native Krunk duo, Mike Bone, with the final word about Frybread Power…