The Iroquois Maple Sugar Festival

bannerHowdy & Happy Easter!

I am repeating my last give-away, which is a copy of the Tradepaper book, newly on sale, THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR with this post.   Briefly, I’m going to repeat my instructions from my last post, and here it is:

On April 7, 2015, Tradepaper copy of THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR goes on sale.  Today I will be giving away a free copy of the Tradepaper copy of THE ANGEL AND THE WARRIOR to some lucky blogger, a $16.00 value.   There is a restriction.  It is limited to the United States only.  Here is a link to to go to in order to look at the blurb of the book, as well as an excerpt.  Also, both the e-book and the Tradepaper are on sale at the moment.  Here is the link:

AngelAndTheWarrior-The-CoverAs always, in order to claim your prize, you must come back to the site tomorrow and look to see if you are the winner.  If you have won, instructions will be given on how to contact me so that the book can be sent to you.  But you must contact me in order to claim your prize.

I thought for a long time about what I might post this Easter.  Because the Iroquois weren’t traditionally Christians prior to the arrival of the French Jesuits, I thought I’d introduce you to their Maple Sugar Festival, which was the festival held about this time of year.  The Iroquois had 8 different festivals throughout the year.  It was in spring, when the nights were cold and the days were warm that the sap began to flow.   This particular festive was only a one day festival, but it was definitely perhaps one of the sweetest.  Marking this festival there were dances, singing and the making of sweet soups and other sweets as well as a tribute given to the maple tree.

It was much prized by the children (I wonder why).

Maple syrup, maple sugar, by the way is a completely American Indian product.  Interestingly, as I have become more and more educated on nutrition, I have learned that maple sugar, although definitely a sugar, reacts differently in the body than regular sugar — or any other kind of sweetener.  It has even been found of late to aid in the recovery of Diabetics (I’m no doctor so please don’t take this as medical advice — I’m just passing along information that I’ve read recently from the farm where I buy my maple sugar, and also this particular YouTube video:

Unlike the Harvest Festival (our Thanksgiving Festival in the Autumn), this festival  that pays tribute to the maple tree and it’s sap, wasn’t given much publicity and so it has tended to fade into history, except in the Northeast where the tradition of gathering the sap from the maple trees still exits (thank goodness because I love real maple syrup).  But I thought it would be fun to look at it from the viewpoint again of what the American Indian has given to this country and to the world.  One of those gifts is pure maple syrup, a sugar that the body recognizes as something it can use (it contains antioxidants, by the way) and does not influence ones blood sugar (apparently) in the same way as other sugars.  Again, I’m not in the medical profession and am just passing along information that I’ve learned recently.

But it was at this time of year that this festival was much looked forward to and much loved by the American Indian of yesterday.  Since this is part of the history that makes up this land, I thought you might enjoy learning a little about it.

Happy Easter to you all!



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KAREN KAY aka GEN BAILEY is the multi-published author of American Indian Historical Romances. She has written for such prestigious publishers as AVON/HarperCollins, Berkley/Penguin/Putnam and Samhain Publishing. KAREN KAY’S great grandmother was Choctaw Indian and Kay is honored to be able to write about the American Indian Culture.
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42 thoughts on “The Iroquois Maple Sugar Festival”

  1. That’s really quite interesting about maple syrup and the benefits versus regular sugar. Thanks for sharing! And I can’t wait to read the book:)

  2. very interesting,,I was born and raised in TN,,we do not have ppl making maple syrup there,,but when i moved to VT it is full of sugar houses and the tapping of the trees,,it is a really wonderful thing to watch the amount of work that goes into it,,some do it old school with the buckets some have a really more modern way to do it,i can only imagine how hard it would have been back in those days

    • Hi Vickie!

      That’s right. You’re from Vermont. I am, too. Lived 10 years there and I remember sugaring season. Loved it then. I still get my maple syrup from a farm in VT — can’t buy it elsewhere — not after you’ve lived there. : )

  3. I love the interesting facts on the maple syrup, maple sugar and the festival. We use the maple syrup on pancakes. I love learning new things!!!! Thankyou for doing the giveaway again!!! Can’t wait to read the book if I win!! Happy Easter!!!!

    • Hi Arlene!

      Yes, long ago — when I was a kid — I learned the wonderful difference in taste between real maple syrup and the imitation. Just not the same thing at all. And once you’ve lived in Vermont….

    • Hi Debra!

      Wow! What fun! Although I lived in Vermont for 10 years, I never did do the tour of the maple shacks — but I sure did enjoy the product! : )

  4. Maple sugar sounds very interesting. I’ll have to look into this. I have only heard of the syrup like for pancakes.

    • Hi Janine!

      There’s some videos on the internet on making the sugar from the syrup. Gotta admit that I use the syrup usually for baking even — only thing is, that when it comes to cookies and fudge, one really has to use the sugar — just doesn’t come out right, when one tries to use the syrup. : )

  5. One of the saddest things is probably most people have never really had maple syrup. I’m not sure I have. What they sell in most stores is fructose corn syrup which is GMO and not good for you. It’s not an ingredient I use anymore but if I did, I would spend the extra money for the real stuff!!

    • Hi Catslady!

      Yeah, not only that, but sometimes in the cheap places (even with the organic) I’ve noticed that there are fillers — bought some in a discount store here – supposed to be organic — and realized that it had fillers. So I only buy my syrup direct from the farm in Vermont. A family farm that’s been there for years and years and years. If you want to know the farmer, email me directly and I’ll give you the name of the farmer. Love the stuff!

      Like you, I stay away from GMO — even the term non-GMO is misleading and it CAN and usually does contain GMO’s. You gotta get GMO free of No (not non) GMO. Besides all the pesticides in every cell of the plant, there’s the adjuvant, which is aluminum in every cell of that plant. Truth is, I’ve rather dropped out of buying food at the grocery store. Nowdays I buy my food direct from the farmer and make almost everything from scratch. More kitchen time, but at least I know what’s in and what’s not in my food. Something we don’t know anymore because manufacturers are allowed to put chemicals (even organic) in their products without ever having to tell you (loopholes). Sigh…

  6. Happy Easter, Karen! Same and hello, Catslady! 😉
    I love real Maple Syrup. Karen, could you recommend a good book about contributions made to us by the Native Americans. I have a large collection of NA books but I’d like to read more about contributions. There is a book about how the Scots contributed. Have you read it? I so badly want this trade paperback!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think you know I do. 🙂 xo

    • Hi Mel K!

      You know there is a book out there on that subject — but I can’t remember the name — I have the book, but I’m away from home at the moment and so can’t get the specific title. How about our Constitution and Articles of Confederation — those were contributions (in form and spirit) of the Iroquois. Haven’t read the one on the Scotts — but have you read about the Mandan Indians? : )

  7. Interesting post Karen! I haven’t seen real Maple Syrup in years. I have also heard this about raw honey being good to help lower your blood sugar mixing it with cinnamon but I am not sure about this either.

    • Hi Quilt Lady!

      I have heard the same thing about honey and know people who have recovered and done well eating raw honey and also bee pollen. Thanks for reminding me about that. : )

  8. I have heard of the Maple Sugar Festival… not sure if I read about in a book or blog or what though. Thanks for sharing Karen & Happy Easter! 🙂

    • Hi Colleen!

      Thanks so much. Having lived in Vermont, every year there is a Maple Sugar Festival — what I didn’t realize was the American Indian’s contribution to that. : )

    • Hi Pamela K!

      Wow, that’s great! The Iroquois have given so much to this country in terms of ideas on our Constitution (setting a good example) but also in terms of freedom and how to live free. BLACK EAGLE and SENECA SURRENDER are my two books about the Iroquois. How I loved that research.

  9. I love festivals and the Maple Sugar Festival sounds like a wonderful event. Interesting facts about maple sugar. I’ve found pure honey has great health benefits too.
    The cover of your book looks great. Happy Easter.

    • Hi Sandra M!

      I love them, too. I have heard and know several people who get great health benefits from honey. Unfortunately there is a family allergy and so i seldom cook with honey. : )

  10. Kay, what a very interesting post! I did not know that about maple syrup and diabetes. I am going to read more about that, because my husband and I both have diabetes and that would be something we might be able to eat if it isn’t as harmful.

    I always enjoy your posts so much.

    • Hi Cheryl!

      You know I used to have the info in an email — but that computer died and along with that computer went the info on maple syrup. Yes, please do the research — I’m not a doctor and so I’m passing along info that I’ve researched as regards it. But it you are diabetic, please do the research. : )

  11. Hi Karen. very interesting information. I love the maple flavor. I wanted to buy some pure maple syrup but it was too high for my pocketbook. I always figures a lot of our things GOD put on earth have medicinal. I think he knew we would get sick and need meds. And if we only knew more. All of the meds we take have awful side effects, we almost would rather not take the chance. I know I would rather have natural. I wish I knew where my Indian grandmothers fit in my family like you. They are on both sides of the family. Would love to win your book. Maxie

    • Hi Maxie!

      Yeah, all those meds have side effects and I stay away from them if at all possible. Take one and it give a person a side effect, and then another med for that side effect, which has a side effect, also — and another med for that.

      Oh, please…so I do the research on natural approaches…don’t like the history of our current med system, either.

  12. Interesting discussion on Maple Syrup. It just shows that often the old ways are the best.

  13. Karen the Maple Syrup info. was great. The NA had all the good foods back then & they were better than ours. Thanks, for all the NA books you have written. Would love to add Angel & the Warrior to my collection. Thanks, for a chance to win.

    • Hi Becky!

      Thanks so much for your post. Although I lived in Vermont, I never really did see the entire process for making syrup. Now I wish I had.

  14. Hi, Karen, interesting information on maple syrup. I will have to look into it. We always have a jug of it on hand, and I like cooking with it.
    I am back in Iroquois country tonight. I need to check the local sagebrush producers to see how the season is going. One of them pairs up with a local fire station or civic club each Spring and sponsors a pancake breakfast. Unfortunately, I doubt it will be this weekend.
    For Vickie, I now live in TN and was surprised that there is one area in the mountains nearby where they do collect maple sap and make syrup. It is a fundraiser for the local fire department.

  15. Hi Patricia!

    Interestingly, there is a farm that I drive to that is in Iroquois country and I notice when I go there, that they always have locally made maple syrup. But because I used to live in Vermont, for me, I have to buy it in Vermont. Just kinda the way it is for me.

  16. I’m a diabetic and your information sounds interesting.
    I’ll have to research this information and share it with
    my primary care physician. Something good could come of

    Pat C.

    • Hi Pat!

      Apparently there is an ingredient in maple syrup — I forget it — but apparently it has been shown to not influence blood sugar and some studies say it is of benefit. : ) Yes, please do the research. And again, I am not an MD and this is in no way medical advice…just my research…

  17. I remember visiting a maple tree sugar farm when I was in Girl Scouts. We have several places that sell maple syrup in Wisconsin.

  18. Happy Easter Kay! I am probably too late for the drawing but that’s alright. Just wanted to wish you a happy holiday. I will catch up with you on the next post. Have a great weekend!

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