Craig Day, News On 6
MCINTOSH COUNTY, Oklahoma -- Springtime in Oklahoma brings the redbud trees to life, along with dogwoods and azaleas. It's also the season for another Oklahoma tradition.
Many Oklahomans find beauty in the wild onion, not for how it looks, but for its historical and cultural significance.
Danny Lindsay and his son Jack are on a treasure hunt. Not for riches. But for something very valuable to many Native American families in Oklahoma. They're searching for wild onions.
"It's a delicacy," said Danny Lindsay. "It's got a taste of its own."
Lindsay, a full blood Creek Indian, is an expert at finding the sweet-smelling wild onions. After all, he's been doing it since he was only 2 years old. That was 61 years ago.
"My mom and grandma and grandpa and them - they would all have the wild onion feast," he said.
Now, Lindsay is passing along the skill to his children.
"I want to learn what my dad and them know and be able to do what they do," said son Jack Lindsay.
The wild onions usually pop up in early March and will drop seeds that bring them back each year. The Lindsays always look forward to the season and also look forward to the many wild onion dinners held in Oklahoma each year.
"Sautee it. And then you put eggs in there, and salt and that's it, you just commence to eatin'," Danny said.
When the Creek Indians, and several other Native American tribes were forcibly removed to Indian Territory on the Trail of Tears, the wild onions helped them to survive. Now many Native American families continue searching for wild onions, not out of necessity, but as a way to honor their ancestors."
And as a way of keeping their heritage alive.
"They'd probably be proud of us. Talking about it the way we are," Jack said.
It's that hunger to honor tradition, as well as the taste, that keeps them hunting through the McIntosh County countryside each spring.
"They're just delicious. That's all there is to it," said Danny Lindsay. "Every spring. Every chance I can get."
They hope to find that hidden treasure, while harvesting memories and cultivating good fellowship year after year.
"Here are some more, Dad," Jack said.
Learn more about the Wild Onion Festival in Okmulgee Friday evening.