by Ardith Van Riper
Mad Dog and Merrill were at the Neesh-La Powwow grounds on Friday, August 23 filming. They were joined by Ho-Chunk Chef Elena Terry and prepared Indigenous foods and drink.
Mad Dog & Merrill are self-proclaimed “grillologists” and entertain thousands with the finer points of grilling. They travel the country performing in front of live audiences and host a TV show.
“We are doing a Native American cultural series with our good friends at NATOW,” said Mad Dog.
The Ho-Chunk Nation and Native American Tourism of Wisconsin (NATOW) sponsored the event.
“NATOW works with the 11 tribes of Wisconsin to promote and market cultural tourism in a way that is sensitive to our culture and those things that we hold sacred to us,” said Apache Danforth, Tribal Tourism Development Director.
“We partner with shows like Mad Dog & Merrill. They are a nationally syndicated show. That is one way NATOW can promote and market events like this, things that are happening in Native Wisconsin, the powwows, and any events that are open to the public.
“We purchased four episodes of this show and we brought one here. One is going to Bad River, the other is going to St. Croix, and at the end of September there are Treaty Days in Madeline Island. Should be fun!”
Merrill asked Elena Terry what an Indigenous Food Chef is. She responded with, “We work on re-introducing Indigenous ingredients into daily life of our communities, not just tribal members.”
While on camera, they grilled bison steak from Oneida and prepared bison burger mixed with blueberries on a cedar plank and an alder plank. Also on the grill were onions and peppers on a maple plank.
Merrill prepared succotash which includes beans, sweet corn, beef, and squash. He also made some tea from fresh lemon, fresh ginger, fresh mint, strawberry, honey, and boiled water.
They aimed at preparing Indigenous foods and drink.
“Indigenous foods are ancestral foods. Foods that are native to the land, foods that we traditionally ate,” said Terry. “Most recently, we try to get it out there a little bit more and build stronger communities. It just ties back into the land.”
Elena Terry started Wild Bearies and they went into a discussion about it.
“Wild Bearies is a community outreach catering company that works to reintegrate community members back into our community through food. We are seed savers. We grow ancestral ingredients,” explained Elena Terry. “Then we go out and share that with our community.”
Mad Dog gifted Elena Terry with some seeds.
Public Relations Officer Forrest Funmaker stated, “The Ho-Chunk Nation had a great time working with the Mad Dog and Merrill Show.
“The Nation thanks Native American Tourism of Wisconsin for bringing the grill challenge to the Neesh-La Powwow.
“The Nation would also like to thank Elena Terry for bringing her newfound indigenous chef talents back to the Nation in her busy schedule.
“They all went above and beyond to make the show as Indigenous as possible. They also loved how well pow-wow committee and Ho-Chunk Gaming – Wisconsin Dells worked with getting all the logistics taken care of so that they can produce an off the hook show.”
The episode filmed at Neesh-La Powwow is scheduled to air Sunday, September 22 on WEAU at 10:30 AM.
This article was previously published in the Hocak Worak