Frybread (also spelled fry bread) is a flat dough bread, fried or deep-fried in oil, shortening, or lard. Made with simple ingredients, generally wheat flour, sugar, salt, and fat, frybread can be eaten alone or with various toppings such as honey, jam, powdered sugar, venison, or beef. Frybread can also be made into taco-like meals.
For many other Native Americans, frybread links generation with generation and also connects the present to the painful narrative of Native American history. Navajo frybread originated 144 years ago, when the United States forced Indians living in Arizona to make the 300-mile journey known as the “Long Walk” and relocate to New Mexico, onto land that couldn’t easily support their traditional staples of vegetables and beans. To prevent the indigenous populations from starving, the government gave them canned goods as well as white flour, processed sugar and lard—the makings of frybread.
According to Navajo tradition, frybread was created in 1864 using the flour, sugar, salt and lard that was given to them by the United States government when the Navajo, who were living in Arizona, was forced to make the 300-mile journey known as the “Long Walk” and relocate to Bosque Redondo, New Mexico, onto land that could not easily support their traditional staples of vegetables and beans; New Mexican cuisine-style sopapillas also share this origin due to Pueblos and Hispanos of New Mexico having a similar subsistence at this time. Boarding schools also helped to spread frybread in Native American diets.
For many Native Americans, “frybread links generation with generation and also connects the present to the painful narrative of Native American history”. It is often served both at home and at gatherings. The way it is served varies from region to region and different tribes have different recipes. It can be found in its many ways at state fairs and pow-wows, but what is served to the paying public may be different from what is served in private homes and in the context of tribal family relations.
According to en.wikipedia; smithsonianmag.com