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This essay explores American Indian cultural expressions related to government food aid through interviews with Indians and surveys of Indian mass media. Many Indians consider foods like frybread, cheese, and canned meats as traditional or characteristic Indian foods, even though they did not exist in North America before Europeans introduced them. Government-provided food items have evolved over generations of shared experience into ethnic symbols. The foods also symbolize the history of conflict between Indians and the government and the continuing struggle for a strong, authentic Indian identity.