Smithsonian Folklife Festival on National Mall explores often-unfamiliar spirituality

by | Jun 30, 2023 | Religion

WASHINGTON (RNS) — In one corner of an array of colorful booths and tents on a hazy day in the nation’s capital, Elena Terry prepared to “celebrate the beauty of corn” through ancestral-inspired dishes like corn crepes on the first day of the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival.“I want to be able to educate people about our life and our connection to food, the land, to each other and what that means as a Native woman in today’s world,” said the traditional Ho-Chunk woman from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, in a Thursday (June 29) interview at the “Kitchen Theology” tent on the National Mall.
“I would like them to understand that we are still here, we do still live our religion daily and that it isn’t something that is structured anything like this other idea of what religion might be in that we are just spiritual people.”
Terry, the founder and executive chef of Wild Bearies, a nonprofit catering and community outreach organization, is one of dozens of participants featured in the festival’s program, titled “Creative Encounters: Living Religions in the U.S.” Steps away from her tent were booths about a Hindu temple in Illinois, Arabic calligraphy by a D.C. artist, and images of “santos,” or saints, fro …

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