Seven in Oh Seven
"We wanted a snack that was good for you, that would be traditionally appropriate for us but that, number one, tasted good," Karlene Hunter of Kyle said. "These taste good."
Tanka Bars will be a high-protein, low-glucose mixture of buffalo and cranberry.
Hunter's partner, Mark Tilsen of Rapid City, believes that the bars will fill a fast-growing niche with a reservation trend. "The naturalfood market is growing by leaps and bounds, and the meat-snack market is growing by leaps and bounds," Tilsen said. "Buffalo is one of the highest grade proteins that exist, and the buffalo are returning to the Lakota people."
Energy bar based on indigenous recipe
Price: The 1 oz. Tanka Bar is $2.25; the half-ounce Tanka Bite is $1.
When: Tanka Bars hit the market Oct. 5 at the 21st annual He Sapa Pow Wow in Rapid City. Or, they can be ordered online at www.tankabar.com.
"Genes have memories," said nutritionist Kibbe Conti, a member of the Oglala Lakota tribe. She promotes pre-reservation-era eating habits to her Native clients. "The concept of the food-gene connection is supported by a lot of scientific research. You really can't turn a blind eye to lineage and heritage."
Conti has yet to taste-test the Tanka Bar but said she began giving wasna to her clinically malnourished dialysis patients in 2002. She said malnutrition rates dropped from 30 to 20 percent among those patients eating wasna.
"The Tanka Bar sounds like a health food, absolutely, if only because I consider buffalo to be superior protein source. ... What little fat there is in buffalo is rich in omega-3 fatty acids--the good fat."
And $2.25 for a 1-oz. bar? Yikes. I suspect most Natives lack fruit and vegetables in their diets more than they lack meat. I suggest they snack on apples or bananas.