Gung Haggis Fat Choy referenced for UNBC next lecture about food and interculturalism

What does it mean if you mix up haggis with Chinese food? 
Anthropologist Dr. Marilyn Iwana presents a lecture: 
Borscht and Sushi: Do These Genes Make Me Look White?

Back in November, I was sent a facebook message from Dr. Marilyn Iwana, asking if she could use the image of me dressed in formal kilt with a Chinese lion mask.  She wrote:

Hi Todd, I'm an academic/poet (of sorts) up here in Prince George,
about to give a “scholars/community cafe” kind of talk on
food/identity/fusion. Would it be possible to use, duly cited, the Gung
Haggis Fat Choy photograph (the kilted lion dancer/piper from your
blog? Thanks very much. Marilyn Iwama

I was intrigued by what kind of talk she would be doing, and how she was involved in cultural fusion.  She wrote back:

It's been exciting and fun to hear about your blurring adventures-at
least the news that makes it online and on radio. Imagine your photo
travelling like that.

Our cafe night is in January, just wrote
the blurb for it and have started turning my mind there. I'm
Cree/Saulteaux/Metis/Mennonite (those HBC Orkney men); my husband's
Okinawan/Japanese and our kids are what they are. We've lived in some
places that have been great for our kind of family (Okinawa and Hawaii
esp.) and food's a huge part of the mix.

Marilyn sounded like my kind of Canadian – very open to recognition and acceptance of  multi-racial heritage, and celebrating it.  I suggested that she could create the first ever Gung Haggis Fat Choy dinner in Prince George… even as a private house party.  I have had reports from people who have had private mini-Gung Haggis dinners in the Yukon, Whistler, Ottawa…

Check out the article in the Prince George Citizen:

What's Food Got To Do With It

Written by Bernice Trick

Citizen staff
Thursday, 07 January 2010

The next lecture in UNBC’s “Anthropology in our Backyards” series is a
presentation on the cultural significance of food to explore the
relationship between food and identity.
Borscht and Sushi: Do These Genes Make Me Look White? will be presented
by Dr. Marilyn Iwama to look at the ways in which deciding what goes on
the dinner table is being used to define Canadians. She will also be
looking at food as a cultural flash point and stabilizer.
The public is welcome to attend the talk at ArtSpace (above Books and Co.) at 7 p.m. January 12.
the Canada of 2010, grocery chains stock kim chee and naan next to the
perogies and chorizo. “We also attend boundary-blurring festivals, such
as Gung Haggis Fat Choy Day,” says Iwama, who has a PhD in
Interdisciplinary Studies.
“Claiming and recognizing ‘our’ food is
becoming harder and harder. What havoc have immigration, intermarriage
and intercultural adoption wreaked in the kitchen – and does it matter?”
an increasingly diverse society with families piecing together various
culinary and cultural traditions, deciding what will be served has
become increasingly daunting,” said Iwama.
“I suggest that Canadians are not only dining out on our changing society, but also counting on food to define it.”
talk is being sponsored by the UNBC Anthropology program in partnership
with Books and Co. with the aim of bringing together researchers and
the general public in exploring issues relevant to northern British
Iwama was born in Nipawin, Sask. of Cree, Saulteaux, Mtis
and Mennonite descent. She has focused her academic interests on the
transformation of culture and the interweaving of indigenous and
Western knowledge. Marilyn and husband, George, who is of Okinawan and
Japanese descent, have three sons.

See full article at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

2 × three =