September 29, 2007

Tanka Bars hit the market

From the Rapid City Journal, 1/1/07:

Seven in Oh SevenThe tiny community of Kyle on Pine Ridge Indian Reservation seems an unlikely launching pad for the next big thing in health foods, but two longtime entrepreneurs believe Tanka Bars could take off.

"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."
Taste of the Plains

Energy bar based on indigenous recipeHow: The company is working with Hermosa buffalo expert Duane Lammers, South Dakota State University researchers and a food branding company on its product. Tanka Bars are made with a nine-hour slow smoking process developed by Native American Natural Foods and Froehling's Meats of Hecla.

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
Are Tanka Bars as salutary as Nike's Air Native N7 shoes?Native Americans have one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world. About 16 percent of Native American adults have diabetes, more than double the rate of the general U.S. population.

"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."
Comment:  Another company markets a product that uses Native lore. Just like Nike, they say they want to help Natives. Are they exploiting Native culture to make a buck too?

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.


Anonymous said...

Native American Natural Foods is based on the Pine Ridge Reservation. There goal is not only to bring healthy lifestyle and healthy eating to the people. They want to bring economic stability to a place that really needs it, jobs and a structure not utilizing total goverment control. This product went through years of not only talking to the elders and youth but with the Leaders of the native people. they created a product that belongs to all native people and gives them something they can call their own. Native American Natural foods Has brought a sense of pride to native people, this product uses respect of all living things including the buffalo each one is respected as it should be, like the sister nation they are to the native people. Give them credit there really a authentic native company comming from the reservation. They are doing more then just trying to make a buck. they are Native Owned and Operated and are doing good things for their people... The Native People

Rob said...

Not only am I giving them credit, I'm giving them publicity. ;-)