Crystal Wahpepah

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Crystal Wahpepah is an enrolled member of the Kickapoo nation of Oklahoma Sack and Fox Nation . She was born and raised in Oakland, California, on Ohlone land, surrounded by a multi-tribal, tight-knit, urban Native community. Crystal’s objectives for Wahpepah’s Kitchen are threefold: (1) to acknowledge that we live on stolen land; and (2) how that acknowledgement connects to the reclamation of Native food ways (food sovereignty); as well as (3) to educate communities and organizations on the health benefits of Native food ways using the knowledge passed onto her.

Although it’s impossible to boil down the cultural food ways of 600 federally recognized tribes across the country into a single statement (Native Americans are not a monolith), something many nations have in common is the sharing of food and caring for each other in a community setting. Crystal has observed and participated in her cultural food ways since she was a small child. Her work cannot be separated from her culture or identity as a Native American woman, daughter, grand-daughter, niece, aunt, mother and community member.

In addition to Crystal’s inimitable experience with food in ancestral and community settings, Crystal has received extensive training from prominent organizations in Oakland and San Francisco on how to run her business. She received the Indigenous Artist Activist Award and has been inducted into the Native American Almanac for being one of the first Native American women to own a catering business in Oakland, Ca. In 2016, she was the first Native American Chef to compete in the Food Network’s show, Chopped. Crystal has also been featured in Oaklandside.

Crystal does not merely cater events and go—she speaks on where her food comes from and honors its roots, its Indigenous cultivators and stewards and its place within the seasons. This is why you will always see diversity in her food, because Wahpepah’s Kitchen honors the seasons with changing menus and product availability. Crystal’s creations through food and community shine with joy, lightness of heart, and are led by a solid internal compass.

Crystal has catered and done educational talks in many forums that span local community settings, the tech world, non-profit organizations and educational institutions. Crystal has worked with the American Indian film festival, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Salesforce, WeWork, UC Berkeley, Cal Poly, UCSF and the National Indian Health Board. This is a small sample that illustrates the diversity of Crystal’s reach. She has traveled all over the country attending food summits and building networks with other Native American and Indigenous farmers, land stewards and chefs.

Crystal values deeply the reciprocal practices of mindfully choosing Indigenous food sources with which she creates her cuisine. Her ingredients come from people and lands to which she is connected and has a relationship. She views her business as a portal to food sovereignty and a reclamation of ancestral knowledge in Native and Indigenous communities. Crystal has plans for herself and her community that give voice and claim ground for an ethical and sustainable way to nourish ourselves on this planet.

Crystal has also been featured in Oaklandside and on Broken Bread season 2.

 

Photo credit: Jean Melesaine 

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  1. Leo Spizzirri

  2. Tamarind Tree

  3. Monti Carlo

  4. Shelley Rahim

  5. Justin Burke

  6. Beejhy Barhany

  7. Amethyst Ganaway

  8. Crystal Wahpepah

  9. Sammy Monsour and Kassady Wiggins

  10. Sapna Punjabi Gupta, MS, RDN, LD

  11. Lauren Stauble

  12. Alyssa Campbell

  13. Sonya Sanford

  14. Michele Song

  15. Judi Leib

  16. Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD

  17. Crystal Wilkinson

  18. Yvette Marquez-Sharpnack

  19. Pam Victor

  20. Frankie Gaw

  21. Jessica Formicola

  22. Katherine Martinelli

  23. Brian Noyes

  24. Lori Shaw

  25. Alejandra Schrader

  26. Matthew Raiford

  27. Amy Paige Condon

  28. Mark Bologna

  29. Julia Skinner, PhD

  30. Soom Sisters

  31. Jerry L. Wyckoff, Ph.D.

  32. Cynthia Graubart

  33. Angela Garbacz

  34. Haile Thomas

  35. Maria Hines

  36. Eventide Oyster Co.

  37. Bobbi Wegner

  38. Philia Kelnhofer

  39. Lauren Toyota

  40. Elizabeth Sims

  41. Laura Bashar

  42. Matthew Prescott

  43. Keith Pandolfi

  44. Todd Richards

  45. Shaye Elliott

  46. Erika Council

  47. Leah Segedie

  48. Stephanie Weaver

    Stephanie Weaver

  49. Irena Chalmers

    Irena Chalmers

  50. Derek and Chad Sarno

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  51. Norman Van Aken

    Norman Van Aken

  52. Ford Fry

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  53. Sherrie Castellano

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  54. Maura Kilpatrick

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  55. William Woys Weaver

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  56. Rick Woodford

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  57. Anne Willan

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  58. Dan Whalen

  59. Jeff Weiss

  60. Katie Webster

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  61. Sherri Brooks Vinton

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  62. Andreas Viestad

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  63. Barbara Unell

  64. Toni Tipton-Martin

    Toni Tipton-Martin

  65. Lauren Keiper Stein

    Lauren Keiper Stein

  66. Ana Sortun

    Ana Sortun

  67. Natalie Slater

  68. Miyoko Schinner

    Miyoko Schinner

  69. Jeanne Sauvage

    Jeanne Sauvage

  70. Yukari Sakamoto

    Yukari Sakamoto

  71. Betty Rosbottom

  72. Jennie Ripps & Maria Littlefield

  73. Lisa Boalt Richardson

  74. A.J. Rathbun

    A.J. Rathbun

  75. Anne Quatrano

    Anne Quatrano

  76. Neka Pasquale

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  77. Kim O’Donnel

  78. Brittany Nickerson

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  79. June Naylor

  80. Kathy Moore & Roxanne Wyss

  81. Irv Miller

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  82. Jennifer McGruther

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  83. Patricia Pinner McAdams

  84. Evan Mallett

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  85. Perre Coleman Magness

    Perre Coleman Magness

  86. Yvonne Maffei

    Yvonne Maffei

  87. Ronni Lundy

    Ronni Lundy

  88. Cindy Littlefield

    Cindy Littlefield

  89. Phoebe Lapine

    Phoebe Lapine

  90. Allyson Kramer

    Allyson Kramer

  91. Steven Kolpan

  92. Jennifer Justus

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  93. David Joachim

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  94. Lisa Howard

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  95. beth hillson

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  96. Kathy Hester

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  97. Bob & Mary Lou Heiss

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  98. Chris & Idie Hastings

  99. Julie Hasson

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  100. Will Harris

    Will Harris

  101. Sandra A. Gutierrez

  102. Craig "Meathead" Goldwyn

    Meathead Goldwyn

  103. Lisa Fetterman

  104. Judith Fertig

    Judith Fertig

  105. Carol Fenster

    Carol Fenster

  106. Sandy D'Amato

    Sandy D’Amato

  107. Fran Costigan

  108. Kelley Cleary Coffeen

    Kelley Coffeen

  109. Kristina Bucaram

    Kristina Bucaram

  110. Ashley Blom

  111. Stacie Billis

  112. Maria Baez Kijac

    Maria Baez Kijac

  113. Nava Atlas

    Nava Atlas

  114. Elizabeth Andoh

    Elizabeth Andoh

  115. Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND

  116. Karen Adler

    Karen Adler

  117. Debbie Adler

  118. Kevin Gillespie


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