Opinion: Introducing Flandreau Santee Sioux youth to buffalo

"This is one project I’d love to see the animal activists try to attack.

For years, the Flandreau Santee Sioux tribe in South Dakota maintained a herd of bison on reservation land. As even most white-eyes recognize, the animals are considered sacred within Native American culture. The tribe established its bison herd in 1990 with a dozen heifers and a bull calf acquired from animals living in South Dakota’s Custer State Park. Twenty years later, the herd had grown to about 250 animals.

However, as might be expected, the herd was more ceremonial than profitable, and according to the story, tribal officials considered selling the animals—until the researchers from South Dakota State University pitched an idea for a new marketing approach focused on teenagers.

According to a story in New York’s Daily News, the goal was twofold: To restore the cultural significance of the buffalo and its meat as part of a traditional diet among tribal members—specifically, young people—and through cooking demos and educational outreach help students at the Flandreau Indian School learn that there are healthier, tastier meat options than prepackaged meats or drive-thru fast-food."

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