Home and Away: Osage woman from long line of head cooks

"“When we cook, we always pray,” said Asa Cunningham, head cook since July 2010 for Pawhuska District within the Osage Nation.

“It’s a very big honor for an Osage woman to be a head cook, especially for our sacred ceremonial dances,” she said. “I come from a long line of head cooks—my grandmother Lillie Bighorse Cunningham; my mother, Roseann Cunningham; and my aunt Marion Cass.”

Surrounded by gentle, rolling hills and prairies, Pawhuska is the county seat of Osage County and the capital of the Osage Nation, located in an oil-rich area in northeast Oklahoma.

The Osage tribe, like other American Indian cultures, is all about tradition, honoring one’s ancestors and sharing. The Osage are a closely knit society, and Cunningham is committed to preserving her Osage heritage, roots and family traditions by serving on the Osage Nation Prevention Program, which focuses on wholesome activities and cultural enrichment for Osage youth. Cunningham teaches traditional Osage cooking classes for the youth program."

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The Main Ingredient—Prayer (Home and Away Magazine 4/11)
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