Cocktails & Capitalism

Reclaiming an Indigenous Art Form with Neka (& the Jekt Kani Cocktail)

March 29, 2022 Cocktails & Capitalism Season 2 Episode 21
Cocktails & Capitalism
Reclaiming an Indigenous Art Form with Neka (& the Jekt Kani Cocktail)
Show Notes

This week, we speak with Neka Savage – a member of the Sovereign Nation of Chitimacha. Like her mother, who did much to revitalize the Chitimacha language, Neka has been working to reclaim the last remaining traditional art form of her tribe: the practice of river cane basket weaving. These baskets were once used in nearly every aspect of daily life. Today, this basketry is practiced by only six weavers. Neka explains how capitalism endangered the existence of this artform, and how the weavers of her tribe used their craft in an effort to save their land. Her work aims to bring Chitimacha basketry “out of glass cases and into the homes and hands of our people again.”

Neka is a supervisor at 232 Help – a nonprofit hotline that helps people in need owing to housing insecurity or natural disasters. They connect folks with state and federal services providing food, clothing, disaster relief, employment support, rent assistance, etc. Having worked during hurricanes Laura, Delta, and Ida, Neka connects her profession to the growing climate crisis that capitalism has created. She shines light on the ways in which climate change will impact the #landback cause: Land Back is such an important movement, but what do you do when your land is under water?”


Follow Neka on IG:
@fourtreesdesignco @savagesisterbeads

Neka's Etsy: FourTreesDesignCo

Melissa Darden’s site

To find the number for 211 in your area, go to 211.org and put in your zip code



Jekt Kani Cocktail

Redwing's Eye

The Jekt Kani Cocktail is based on one of Neka’s favorite basket patterns: The Jekt Kani, meaning the Redwing Blackbird’s Eye. This cocktail is made to look like the basket weave by using pebble ice topped with the pattern made of blackberries and raspberries. It can also be made SPIRIT FREE for those who choose not to imbibe. The alcohol component is cane-based in the same way that the baskets are made from cane. Three Roll is an outstanding rum distillery in Louisiana that uses locally-farmed, organic sugar cane.


Jekt Kani Cocktail   (ABV 12%  --  OR  --  Spirit Free)


-45 ml Sugar cane rum such as Three Roll

       OR Non-alcoholic spirit such as Seedlip Grove 42

-15mlSimple Syrup

-15mlLemon Juice 

-30mlGinger Beer

-Blackberries & raspberries


Glassware:  Rocks or Old Fashioned Glass

Directions for both versions: 

Take a rocks glass & add three blackberries to the bottom of the glass. Separately, add the rum or spirit-free Seedlip, syrup, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with ice cubes & shake well. Fine strain a very small amount into the glass with the blackberries & muddle very well. Add the crushed or pebble ice into the glass tightly. Strain the remaining cocktail slowly into the glass. The blackberry juice will slowly start to rise to the top in a beautiful way. Use whole raspberries and blackberries to create the Jekt Kani pattern on the top of the drink.  

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