Most of the people waiting in line at Conflict Kitchen had never heard of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, and that’s part of the problem. The Haudenosaunee Confederacy, also known as the Iroquois Confederacy, is made up of six North American nations; many consider it the oldest participatory democracy on Earth. There are 567 sovereign American Indian nations within US borders, but to most Americans, they’re totally invisible.
Conflict Kitchen is an experimental public art project created by artists Dawn Weleski and Jon Rubin, a professor at nearby Carnegie Mellon. The restaurant only serves food from countries with which the US is in conflict, changing its identity every few months. It has been home to the only North Korean, Venezuelan and Palestinian restaurants in Pittsburgh history. Its latest iteration features cuisine from Haudenosaunee cultures, whose ancestral territory stretched from Canada to Virginia.
Each version takes roughly two years to create and involves extensive research to develop the menu, as well as visits to the featured country to cook with people and interview them about their daily lives, culture, and perspectives on the conflict with the United States. Each meal comes with a large, folded sheet of paper with quotes from these interviews on a broad range of topics, including food....more