USDA certified wild game meat at dinner table only!

Dear Editor:

I would like for you to call up a picture in your mind of a vision in 1873, fields upon fields of slaughtered buffalo laying to rot, with only the tongues cut out of their mouths for trade with the nearest trader, the rest of the carcass laying in the sweltering sun, waiting for the wolves to come and strip the bones.

Do you remember why that was done? History books blame the introduction of the railways, amongst other things, but the main purpose behind the action was to destroy the food source of the American Plains Indians so that they would be forced to accept the assistance of a government that wanted to take away their rights and their lands.

Now, look out to the fields beyond Hardin, Lodge Grass, The Big Horn Mountains... the same thing is happening again, but it has been masked and made to seem like a natural thing, a health issue.

They have said that all game meats now need to be USDA inspected if they are to be sold, or used in cultural feeds, clan feeds, powwow feeds. No longer will meat be allowed if it is not USDA inspected.

Once again, the American Indians are to be starved out, kept from using those resources available in the open hunting that is available to Crows. We know... it has been done to us at Crow Fair.

A faceless body sent police officers over to take away our right to sell buffalo jerky and dried deer meat at Crow Fair. We still have no idea who is behind this action.


The buffalo we are selling had been packaged by butchers, donated by the Yellowstone Bison Association and it came from the buffalo herd on the Big Horn Mountains and given to a local foundation. Their reason to force my husband to quit selling this meat was because the meat was not USDA certified. The other dry meat soup stands at Crow Fair did not have a USDA certification on their meat either, but they were not asked to stop selling.

Why is that, were they from another state, one that this state cannot challenge?

When the tribe has a buffalo slaughter, do they take it to a USDA certified Inspector? From research I have done, it costs approximately $80 a carcass to have Bison certified.

Before that meat can be served at the next tribal feed, at a dinner for the elders, at a clan feed, at a powwow, perhaps simply for a birthday celebration at the tribal building, it will all have to be certified meat now.

Why is this being allowed to be done? Has no one thought of the consequences of this action? Has no one realized that by this action the Federal Government is once again dictating to you that you are not allowed to eat your cultural foods, and with today’s economy and the lack of jobs in this area, that this is the same as telling you to starve?

First your foods are attacked that are served at feeds and concessions, the next will be meat in your homes. Are you going to just let this happen, again? Only by having a unified voice can these things be stopped and reversed, but it has to be done before it is too late.

Let’s hope it isn’t already too late.

Gay Deputee

Hardin, Montana