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The Mother of the State Fair Indian Taco recalls how it all began

OKLAHOMA CITY - The lunch line at the Choctaw Tribal Alliance extends out the front door on a beautiful September day.

The Oklahoma City Pow Wow Club is using the kitchen to make Indian Tacos for hungry folks all over the city's south side.

But, sitting quietly among the horde of noisy eaters, back in the corner of the big meeting room, Jerry Jefferson lays claim to a big bite of Indian Taco history.

"The fry bread makes the difference," Jefferson said.

She didn't invent the dish.

Indian Fry Bread has been a staple for plains tribes since the 1800s.

The dish itself hales from the southwest.

Different tribes all over the country served it up for generations at churches and local fundraisers.

Jerry and her husband, Buster Jefferson, got the idea to serve them at a State Fair booth back in 1976.

"You go to the fair to eat," she said.

Jerry recalls stepping in when they were trying to figure out what to put on the sign.

"We couldn't think," she said. "Okie Taco? What would that do? We decided that some people don't like 'Okie'. So, I said 'Just name it Indian Taco' because that takes in all the tribes. So, that's what we did."

Indian Tacos were a hit right away.

The Oklahoma Choctaw Alliance had their stand inside the Cottonwood Post and then, later, beside the Arts and Crafts Building.

"How long were the lines?" asks a lunch time visitor.

"Oh my goodness," Jefferson exclaims. "They'd go from here across the street at least."

She served her original Indian Tacos for 20 years before taking her secret fry bread recipe home.

The Indian Taco and the State Fair share the strongest of links these days.

One somehow doesn't seem complete without the other.

Jerry is satisfied with her place in that history, though most people don't really know it.

She'll stay that way as long as no one goes away hungry.

The State Fair's 'Mother of the Indian Taco' will be 90 years old September 30.

Dan's Original Indian Taco stand at the current State Fair is a direct offshoot of the first Choctaw Alliance stand.