Springtime ritual begins in Indian churches

Friday, March 18th 2005, 10:25 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ It's spring in Oklahoma

And that means its time for wild onion feasts at many American Indian churches.

The feast, which is meant to celebrate nature's bounty, is a rite of spring for many Oklahoma tribes.

At the Mary Lee Clark Memorial United Methodist Church in Del City nearly 400 people are expected to attend the dinner Saturday.

The meal will include wild onions - -harvested and cleaned weeks ago- - cooked with scrambled eggs.

Nathan Harjo a member of the Billy Hooten Memorial United Methodist Church says nearly 800 people came to their dinner earlier this month.

No one seems to know the origin of the community meals, but eastern Oklahoma's Indian tribes have a long tradition of harvesting and eating wild onions.

The Cherokees, Chickasaws, Choctaws and Seminoles all have similar feasts.

The dinners are often fund-raisers for Indian churches.

Digging, cleaning and selling wild onions is a business in some areas. Around Tahlequah, people sell wild onions along the side of the road.