Native Chef Sean Sherman Named to TIME’s List of 100 Most Influential People

Chef Sean Sherman
Photo credit: Bill Phelps for Meal Magazine

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – TIME magazine has named Sean Sherman, award-winning chef and advocate for Indigenous foodways, to the 2023 TIME 100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Sherman, a member of the Oglala Lakota Sioux Tribe, is a leader in the movement to revitalize Indigenous food systems. A founder of the non-profit NĀTIFS (North American Traditional Indigenous Food Systems), Sherman leads a team of culinary staff, educators, and advocates creating resources crucial to the movement. NĀTIFS collects and disseminates knowledge of Indigenous food systems including agriculture, culinary, ethnobotany and more, serves as a point of connection for individuals and organizations interested in Native food culture and Native food sovereignty and advocates for Indigenous foodways at a policy level. 

“I am thrilled to accept this honor on behalf of my ancestors, who lived in balance with the natural world,” said Sherman. “For generations, they nourished themselves with the bounty of the land where we lived, and we thrived. The foodways that sustained our Indigenous ancestors have the potential to rebalance and heal our bodies, weave connections within our communities, and bring harmony to our relationship with the planet. The cultural knowledge our ancestors left behind is a gift to us, one I am committed to recovering and sharing for the benefit of generations to come.”

The mission of building a new Indigenous food economy calls for new resources, leading Sherman to establish the first NĀTIFS Indigenous Food Lab in Minneapolis, a culinary training, development and support center. His restaurant Owamni is dedicated to decolonized cuisine, and was recognized by the James Beard Foundation as the best New Restaurant in America in 2022. Sherman was also nominated for Best Chef: Midwest that same year. In 2017, he published The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen, which won the James Beard Award for Best New Cookbook in 2018. The cookbook showcases Chef Sherman’s philosophy on reclaiming Indigenous foods in a modern context. Sherman also won the prestigious James Beard Leadership award in 2019.