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Indigenous-owned cafe opens at Fort Langley National Historic Site

The Ancestor Cafe features traditional Indigenous foods

Food has been an important connection to her ancestral roots for Sarah Meconse Mierau.

As the daughter of a ’60s Scoop victim, Mierau witnessed her mother’s efforts to reconnect with her culture and traditional diet. She recalled her father’s support and love, and his help for her mother.

“I grew up in a family that loved food but did not always make healthy food choices, which created a lot of health problems later in life as our bodies were not meant to eat the highly processed diets of today,” Mierau said.

Her mother passed away when Mierau was 12 years old, and her father was later diagnosed with cancer.

Wanting to brighten his day, Mierau surprised him by making potato pancakes – a traditional German Mennonite dish he had grown up with.

“He told me they tasted just like the ones his mom used to make him… I made him something every week, and every time he got so excited,” she shared.

Her father encouraged Mierau to try culinary school, telling her she had a gift.

“Making him happy and seeing the satisfaction on his face while he was eating lit up my soul,” she said.

When he passed away, Mierau enrolled in culinary school and graduated with an advanced diploma in culinary arts and restaurant ownership from the Art Institute of Vancouver.

After trying several different jobs in the industry, she felt something was still missing in her career.

Eventually, she worked at a shelter as head chef for two years which satisfied her humanitarian heart, but took a mental toll.

“I did not realize I was damaging myself by being around the daily traumas that happen in a shelter – there is so much suffering there. I was then diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and I didn’t cook or help people for two years,” Mierau shared.

With the support of her partner, Mierau found her passion for food again and took a class at the Native Education College. Soon after, she created her business Tradish.

“I wanted to be able to help people and make good food, while reconnecting to my culture. I know that I was not the only urban Indigenous person who was disconnected to my traditional diet, so I started with my line of plant medicine jams and then created our organic bannock mix,” she explained.

After the success of her jam company and food truck, she was ready to set up a permanent location for people to access her products in person, and The Ancestor Cafe was opened.

“The cafe is in a historical site where Indigenous and non-Indigenous people came together to trade furs. I thought it was accurate to call it ‘The Ancestor Cafe’ because they were all of our ancestors that connected there,” Mierau said.

Some menu items are plant medicine lemonades with various flavor options, plant medicine jams, sweet baked bannocks, and meals including elk, bison, and wild boar, among many other dishes. In the summer, plant medicine jam ice cream sundaes will be available.

Mierau said this is important to have in the food industry to represent Canada in an authentic way.

“We must showcase the culinary ways of the first people of this country,” she said. “Indigenous culture and food is beautiful.”

The Ancestor Cafe is open Wednesdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with plans to open seven days a week in the future.

It’s located inside the Fort Langley National Historic Site on 23433 Mavis Ave.

Her products can also be ordered online at

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Kyler Emerson

About the Author: Kyler Emerson

I'm excited to start my journalism career in Langley and meet our community.
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