Buffalo Nation - 133222 views


By Native American Natural Foods
and Indian Land Tenure Foundation

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Before buffalo were nearly driven from the Great Plains forever, the Lakota people relied on this sacred animal -- Tatanka -- to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, clothing and ceremony. In this way, the buffalo sustained American Indian people for thousands of years.

Now there's a way for you to help ensure that the buffalo returns to its rightful place in the diets, cultures and economies of American Indian people.

The Tanka Fund is a charitable fund which allows you to directly support programs and activities that will help return buffalo to the Great Plains and bring renewed health and opportunity to Indian communities.


According to the American Center for Disease Control, Native American people have a 2.3 times higher chance of being diagnosed with diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. And this percentage is even higher among youth. In addition, many Native American communities suffer from a lack of healthy, accessible food options, either due to poor economic conditions or geographic isolation.

Buffalo-based products offer both a traditional, all-natural food source as well as a healthy alternative to other meat products and snack foods. Low in sodium, cholesterol and saturated fat and high in nutrients, buffalo meat is praised for its nutritional value. Reintroducing buffalo into the diets of Native American people is an important step toward achieving cultural and physical healing and wellness in our communities.

Program activities supported by the Tanka Fund include:
  • Educational programs on healthy eating and lifestyles for children and adults

  • Food programs that incorporate buffalo products such as:
    • School lunches
    • Take home initiatives, such as a backpack program
    • Elder meals

  • Other initiatives that support sustainable, healthy food systems in Native American communities


As it turns out, buffalo is not only good for the body and spirit, but it's also good for the environment. Recent studies have shown that buffalo ranching offers a sustainable way to better utilize and preserve Native American lands in the Great Plains. Buffalo are much less destructive to the natural environment than cattle and actually help to restore native prairie plants and grasses and mitigate harmful carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Buffalo production is an environmentally-friendly way to produce traditional, healthy foods using our Native American lands and resources.

Program activities supported by the Tanka Fund include:
  • Conversion of one million acres of Native American land from cattle to buffalo production
    • Restoration of native prairie grasses
    • Reduction of methane (a greenhouse gas) emissions

  • Use of buffalo grazing lands for terrestrial carbon sequestration to reduce worldwide environmental impact of carbon emissions


There is currently a huge market demand for buffalo meat in the U.S., the highest demand ever documented by the National Bison Association. And yet, according to the USDA, the supply of buffalo is at a seven-year low. As new entities -- farmers, ranchers and big corporations -- discover the market opportunity that buffalo represent, there will be a push for entry into the buffalo production and processing arenas. The Tanka Fund exists to ensure that Native American farmers and ranchers have the information, resources and support they need to enter, expand and benefit from this opportunity to participate in this quickly expanding market.

Program activities supported by the Tanka Fund include:
  • Research on buffalo production infrastructure status and needs in Indian Country

  • Survey of current and prospective Native American buffalo producers to determine acreage, herd size, goals, and needs for technical assistance and other resources

  • Outreach and marketing promoting buffalo production and consumption in Native American communities, including the use of
    • Social media
    • Public Service Announcements
    • Advertising in conjunction with product sales

  • Identify stakeholders and potential partners (tribal enterprises, Indian organizations, buffalo producer organizations, federal agencies, corporations, etc.)

With your support, the Tanka Fund can help buffalo return to the Great Plains, bringing renewed cultural connections, health and opportunity to Indian communities.

Make a contribution to the Tanka Fund today.

Contact us if you would like information about grants available through the Tanka Fund.