March 28, 2011

Tanka Bar company's goals

A look at Native American Natural Foods, maker of the critically-acclaimed Tanka Bar:

Tasting success

By Barbara SoderlinFor Tilsen and Hunter, that means economic development on the reservations. The two are Pine Ridge Indian Reservation residents and longtime business partners. Together they founded the Lakota Express direct marketing firm years ago and both also have been board members at the Pine Ridge Area Chamber of Commerce.

They want to fight poverty and unemployment among Native Americans in a number of ways: first, through hiring and job training. They now employ 18 people at their Kyle headquarters, some of whom had never worked before and who might otherwise have not seen a way out of poverty. Five others work for the company in other locations, and the actual processing is done at plants the company contracts with.
And:They also want to buy from Native Americans where possible. They say today they get 20 percent of their bison from Native producers and hope to increase that further.

Another part of their mission is helping to fight obesity and diabetes that disproportionately plague Native people. People aren’t going to eat low-fat buffalo just because their grandmothers tell them to. It has to taste good and be branded as something cool to do, they said.
Comment:  If Blue Corn Comics is ever successful, we'll try to give back to Native communities in similar ways.

For more on the subject, see Tanka Bars Coast to Coast and Review of Tanka Bar.

Below:  "Kelly Hunter prepares a package for shipping at the Tanka Bar headquarters in Kyle on Monday, March 21, 2011. Tanka Bar ships small orders from Kyle to all 50 states. Hunter ships about 30 packages per day." (Aaron Rosenblatt/Journal staff)

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