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Getting acquainted with our surroundings and each other.

I had intended to post in real time, but found myself too incredibly busy to sit down and write. This post will serve as a recap of our Friday experience.

We left Beebe at 7:30 AM heading for a 9AM start at Parkin Archeological State Park. We had a few delays, so our start time was closer to 10AM. Students from ASU Beebe and the University of Memphis were introduced to each other, the park staff, and most importantly Casqui and the Parkin site. We started with a short video and discussion with Assistant Park Superintendent Nate Odom. They then toured the museum collection with Archeologist Bob Scott. After which they took a tour of the site before gathering for lunch.

Lunch was Three Sisters Soup, masa skillet bread, and fruit. The recipe for the soup was posted previously. The Masa Bread was made developed from a skillet bread recipe but in the interest of keeping it gluten free I used masa harina instead of corn meal as all of the corn meals I had access to in the store had wheat contamination warnings.

Masa Bread

1 cup of masa harina

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 egg

2 cups of buttermilk, or milk of choice. (I used Almond milk and a tablespoon of cultured vegan sour cream)

  1. heat the oven to 425 degrees and place a well oiled skillet in the oven

  2. Slightly beat the egg

  3. Mix all ingredients until well blended

  4. pour into hot skillet and bake 20 min until done.

With our bellies full, we headed down to the river where students dug clay to prepare for processing the next day. They also gathered muscle shells to use as a temper. This year the river was quite low, and the gumbo silt line was far out from the shore, making gathering clay much easier than last year. When everyone was satisfied, we cleaned up and headed to Village Creek State Park to set up camp.

Village Creek State Park is located on Crowley's Ridge and has one of the most intact sections of Military Road, which has a very grim history of being the known for its involvement in the Trail of Tears. An interpretive hike was in the plans for Saturday morning.

The group made quick work of setting up camp before gathering to have dinner and s'Mores. The group was exhausted after an early morning and full day. Dinner was Indian Tacos. (Quapaw Fry Bread, shredded chicken or beans, and toppings). Fry bread is a post European contact removal recipe. Native Americans were given rations of flour and lard. Frybread was the result of this painful period in Native American history. It seemed fitting to indulge in this meal while camping on such hallowed ground.

Quapaw Fry Bread (Carrie WIlson's recipe)

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1 /2 teaspoons sugar (can omit)

1 tablespoon shortening

2 tablespoons powdered milk (we omitted because of dairy allergies)

Mix all dry ingredients together, including dry milk. Add 1 cup warm water to soften dough. Roll out to 1/2–3/4 inch thick. Cut into squares. Deep fat fry until golden brown.

This recipe can be found in Ann M. Early, Ph.D., "Native-American Food," Arkansas Archeological Survey, accessed October 2, 2023 .

The group barely stayed around the fire after dinner. They were so tired, and the Saturday morning hike on the Trail of Tears with interpreter Megan Wallace would come all too quickly,

Rise: 4:30 AM - Rest 9PM


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