2023 Bulb Show Opening Lecture

Don’t miss this year’s Bulb Show Opening Lecture, “A Celebration of Land and Sea: Modern Indigenous Cuisine in New England” by Rachel Beth Sayet.

A preview of the 2023 Spring Bulb Show at Lyman Conservatory to follow.

March 3rd, 7:30 pm | Carroll Room, Campus Center | Zoom Webinar

About the lecture:

Indigenous people in New England have always celebrated multiple thanksgivings, in order to honor the bounty and special qualities of each season’s harvest. These celebrations include Strawberry Thanksgiving, Green Bean Thanksgiving, and Green Corn Thanksgiving. Some of these traditions have survived in southern New England. Through interviews and discussions with Mashpee Wampanoag, Abenaki, Mohegan, and Narragansett cooks, Rachel Sayet has gained a wealth of knowledge about the traditional foods and recipes related to these thanksgivings.

In March 2017, she started a food sovereignty working group at Mohegan, in collaboration with the Tribal Health Department, where they discussed the spiritual and physical benefits of their traditional foods as well as herbs and medicines. Through this partnership, they have created indigenous gardens for her tribe.

In this lecture, Rachel shares her knowledge on the multiple traditional thanksgivings of New England, along with her years of work revitalizing these traditional foods alongside her tribal elders. If you plan to attend the lecture virtually, please register for the Zoom Webinar in advance. 

About Rachel Beth Sayet:

Rachel Beth Sayet, or Akitusut (She Who Reads), is a member of the Mohegan nation. Raised with the spirits of her ancestors, she grew up learning traditional stories and teachings and participating in tribal events. Rachel has always been passionate about and proud of her Mohegan heritage and identity. 

Rachel’s other main passion throughout her life has been food. She grew up cooking with her grandmother and mother. Rachel has a Bachelor of Science in Restaurant Management from Cornell University. During her senior year at Cornell, Rachel took an American Indian Studies course with Mohawk professor Audra Simpson, an eye-opening experience that inspired her path to teach about Native culture and history.

Rachel received her masters degree in anthropology and museum studies from Harvard University in 2012. During that time, she worked at the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology for three years and curated the exhibit, “Digging Veritas: the archaeology and history of the Harvard Indian college and 17th century life.” Rachel is currently working for the Five Colleges, through Native American and Indigenous Studies (NAIS), as the community development fellow. In this role, she will provide guidance and training recommendations to campus advisors, professors, and administrators who work with Native students, while developing programming to serve Native student communities and cultivate NAIS scholars.

A Celebration of Land and Sea: modern indigenous cuisine in New England, a paper Rachel wrote in 2013, and now a presentation, is the union of Rachel’s interest and the focus of her efforts on revitalizing traditional foods.