Tanka Fund Supports Return of Buffalo to Indian Country on National Bison Day

Share Article

Congress declares November 2, 2013 National Bison Day. The Tanka Fund at ILTF celebrates National Bison Day by supporting the Return of the Buffalo.

Photo credit: Positive Exposures

November 2, 2013 marks the second annual observance of National Bison Day. This special day is about more than just a Congressional declaration; this day is about honoring—and celebrating—the importance of the buffalo to our nation and our history.

Buffalo fed and clothed the people of this continent before this land was called America, they are part of North America’s iconic grasslands, they hold a special place in the cultures and traditions of Native American peoples of the Plains and, today, buffalo are getting some much-deserved and long-overdue credit for their place in America’s past and present.

The partners in the Tanka Fund are particularly excited about National Bison Day because of the Fund’s focus on returning the buffalo to the lands, cultures, diets and economies of Indian people. With the many obstacles that face Native American landowners in buffalo ranching, the Tanka Fund provides programming and support to convert Indian land to buffalo production so that tribal nations, their members and reservation lands benefit from the return of the buffalo.

The existence of organizations like the Tanka Fund speaks to the tumultuous history the buffalo has had since the creation of the United States. Senate Resolution 254, designating November 2, 2013 as National Bison Day, acknowledges some of these important historical and present-day facts about the bison and its connection to Native American people.

Congress calls the bison not only “a historical symbol of the United States,” but “integrally linked with the economic and spiritual lives of many Indian tribes through trade and sacred ceremonies.” The Congressional resolution to celebrate National Bison Day is an absolute victory for the buffalo given their history with the U.S.

Read more about the declaration of National Bison Day here.

The Tanka Fund honors National Bison Day in a special way. “By having this day set on the calendar, it will be our time to do our annual winter count on the progress of the Return of the Buffalo and set the course for the next year of Tank Fund activities,” said Cris Stainbrook, Indian Land Tenure Foundation President.

The Tanka Fund was created through a partnership between Native American Natural Foods, LLC (NANF), makers of the Tanka Bar, and Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) to provide a broad base of support for efforts to return buffalo to the lands, diets and economies of American Indian people. The Tanka Fund will bring economic opportunity and wellness to Indian communities through buffalo restoration on Indian lands.

“This is not a brand with a charity; it’s a community trying to break free of poverty,” Mark Tilsen, President of Native American Natural Foods, said of the company.

“The Tanka Fund is a great fit for ILTF because one of our primary objectives is to help Indian people gain economic control over their lands and natural resources,” said Stainbrook. “The more Indian people are using their own lands to benefit their communities and themselves, the better.”

Before buffalo were nearly driven from the Great Plains forever, the Native peoples relied on this sacred animal to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, clothing and ceremony. But despite its recent absence and the devastation left in its wake, the buffalo has remained at the center of Native life and customs. The Tanka Fund is helping the buffalo return to its rightful place.

“The importance of buffalo to the [Native] way of life can’t be overstated,” explains Karlene Hunter, CEO of Native American Natural Foods and a member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe. “It sustained our people and many other tribes for thousands of years. We want to help return health to the diets, economies and ecosystems of Indian communities by bringing buffalo back.”

The Tanka Fund supports a range of projects related to buffalo restoration and production, including: public education on the role of buffalo in creating healthy Indian communities; research on buffalo production and markets; and grants, loans and technical assistance to Indian buffalo producers. To learn more about the Tanka Fund visit tankafund.org today.

# # #
Indian Land Tenure Foundation (ILTF) is a national, community-based organization serving American Indian nations and people in the recovery and control of their rightful homelands. ILTF works to promote education, increase cultural awareness, create economic opportunity, and reform the legal and administrative systems that prevent Indian people from owning and controlling reservation lands. For more information visit http://www.iltf.org.

Native American Natural Foods, LLC (NANF) is Native-owned company based in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. NANF is focused on creating a family of nationally branded food products that are delicious and that promote a Native American way of wellness that feeds the mind, body and spirit. For more information visit http://www.tankabar.com.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Christine McCleave
Visit website