On Friday, September 25, members of the Lakota Buffalo Caretakers Cooperative (LBCC) will be celebrating the donation of 6 head of buffalo that will be added to their herds. For the 6th consecutive year, Danylchuck Buffalo Ranch, based in Rye, Colorado, will generously donate buffalo to the cooperative. Members of the LBCC will be present at the celebration, making it an exciting opportunity for those interested in learning more about issues of sustainable agriculture, food sovereignty, and Lakota ranching ethics. The event will be free and open to the public, held at the Historic Federal Building, 421 North Main Street, Pueblo, CO.
The Lakota Buffalo Caretakers Cooperative is 100% Native American owned and operated, making it (to the best of our knowledge) the only Native American run small family cooperative of buffalo caretakers in the United States. The cooperative is located on the Pine Ridge Reservation, located in South Dakota. All of the meat produced by the group comes from buffalo that are raised on open ranges, grazing on wild grass, and respectfully harvested in the field. This culturally significant and ethical approach to meat production supports the members’ overarching commitments to the restoration of the northern plains ecology, self-sufficiency and strengthening the sovereignty and self-determination of the Oglala Lakota Nation and all indigenous peoples.
After becoming incorporated in the state of South Dakota and having its labels approved by the USDA, the LBCC began selling retail meat last January. The cooperative was the progeny of Village Earth’s (a Fort Collins based NGO, which supports sustainable development through empowerment) Adopt-a-Buffalo project. The project was started as part of Village Earth’s larger vision to support Lakota families in reclaiming and utilizing their legally allotted lands. Due to significant legislation produced in the late 1800s and early 1900s, on Pine Ridge Reservation over 60% of individual Native American land is being leased out, primarily by non-tribal members. Through the Adopt-a-Buffalo initiative, Village Earth helped recover over 2000 acres for buffalo restoration, releasing over 82 head of buffalo onto these lands. Due to the historical and spiritual significance of the buffalo for the Lakota people, Village Earth hopes this project will be a significant step in the process of restoring the reservation’s economy and strengthening cultural pride.
If you have more questions about the event, the LBCC, Village Earth, or any of the larger underlying issues, please contact David Bartecchi at (970) 491-0633 or [email protected]