At least 50 different plant foods in Indigenous Peoples' traditional diets in northwestern North America—including berries, root vegetables, greens, and tree sap and inner bark—are known for their sweet taste. Some were, and are, appreciated as confections themselves and others were used to sweeten foods and medicinal preparations. These sweet foods were remembered fondly by many elders from childhood times. However, many of these original sweet foods are no longer widely consumed, having been largely replaced by imported molasses, brown sugar, white sugar, syrup, and honey, which were readily incorporated into Indigenous Peoples' food systems following their introduction by Europeans in the past couple of centuries. This shift in use of sweeteners—as well as the adoption of wheat flour, and other introduced and refined carbohydrate foods—has had both positive and negative implications for First Nations' health and well-being. Today, Indigenous cultural revitalization movements in northwestern North America are drawing on the elders' knowledge and memories of their healthy, time-honored foods to recreate and celebrate ancestral dishes, especially those fondl remembered for their sweetness
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Vol. 40 • No. 3