Word on the Herd
Oklahoma Today|July/August 2020
The Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes are taking back the food production process, from farm to table.
WHITNEY BRYEN

BUFFALOAF IS A hearty, earthy dish that highlights the protein-rich meat of an animal that, for many Native American tribes, represents resilience and strength. Bison—or buffalo, which is one in the same when it comes to cooking—is a staple in many kitchens, including Potawatomi chef Loretta Barrett Oden’s. It’s sweeter than beef, leaner than turkey, and dense with Native history.

“I’ve been working with buffalo for so long that I can tell what kind of grass they’re feeding on,” says Barrett Oden. “It’s subtle, but there is a hint of grass flavor. And where the buffalo thrive, the land thrives along with it. It’s one of those beautiful synergies that Mother Earth comes up with.”

Historically, bison have sustained nomadic people by providing food, clothing, shelter, and tools. Today, they’re helping future generations flourish as Oklahoma’s Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes break ground on the next phase of their bison program.

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