What is an Indian Taco? Is it a taco shell filled with curry? These were my thoughts as I saw a handmade sign outside the Minneluzahan Senior Citizen’s Centre, near where our car was parked.
We could see people coming in and out of a side door with takeaway containers so I just had to go and have a look at what was going on. The handmade signs and location suggested there was some type of fundraiser happening and this indeed turned out to be the case. As we entered the building, there was a table set up to one side with a cash box and a few tables with locals tucking in.
Hard To Pronounce, Easy To Understand
Before we move on to Indian Tacos, a word on the hard to pronounce ‘Minneluzahan’. Go on, try saying it out loud. Difficult huh? Minneluzahan is the Lakota Sioux word for Rapid Creek. ‘Minne’ means water (like Minnesota), ‘luza’ means swift and ‘han’ means continuing and good. As the centre sits on the edge of a creek that created a large and tragic flood in the 1970s, it is very appropriately named.
Also before we move on to Indian Tacos, a word on the word ‘Indian’. I noticed on this trip to the US that the word was being freely used in the Midwest to describe the Native American or First Nation people. I was curious to learn more about this as my understanding was that many saw the word Indian as derogatory and not a preferred term. At the Plains Indian Museum in Cody, part of the esteemed Smithsonian, I learned that whilst some tribes and peoples find the word demeaning, others use the term without offence. In fact, some find the term Native American to be ‘government speak’. It would appear that for the most part in the Midwest at least, the term Indian is acceptable. If the Indian’s are calling their menu items Indian Tacos, then who am I to argue?
It’s On The List
But back to the tacos. There were 3 different taco options as well as a couple of different items. I thought $7 was a bit steep for a taco but had no idea what the alternate ‘menudo’ was, so ordered a beef and bean taco for each of us. A few minutes later we were handed styrofoam takeaway containers (SO much styrofoam in the US!) and plastic cutlery. We took our containers into the park and opened them to get a look at our Indian Tacos.
In 2005, Fry Bread was declared the State Bread of South Dakota. Yes, State Bread is a thing. I’m glad I didn’t go for menudo as a quick internet search later revealed that it’s a tripe based soup. Deliciously puffy Indian Fry Bread was a much more appealing option on a sunny Saturday afternoon.