Native Americans Investing in Restorative Agriculture and Economics
by Theo Ferguson of Healing Living Systems
As White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy espouses, we need to think in systemic terms when tackling our collective challenges — COVID, economic downturn, seeking social justice to heal racism, and climate change — these are all challenges that must be approached together. Our best guides — environmentally, socially, in governance practices and economically — are still our Indigenous brothers and sisters.
Eighty percent of the earth’s biodiversity is stewarded by 5 percent of the indigenous people living on 25 percent of the world’s land surfaces. Indigenous people, as a culture, have been very successful in living in balance with the environment.1 One could attest that their multi-dimensional, multi-generational ways of living and their spiritual connection with the lands and all species is the fundamental chord in the harmony and vitality they achieve.
In 2006 Native American Natural Foods (NANF), an Oglala Lakota enterprise mounted on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, launched the Tanka Bar, the first commercial bison meat-and-fruit energy bar, based on a traditional Lakota recipe called ‘wasna.’ The intent of the enterprise was to bring the Buffalo back, as the Oglala Lakota people experience themselves and the Buffalo as Sister Nations. With lean buffalo meat reintroduced into their diet, the Oglala Lakota curtailed obesity and diabetes; simultaneously reintroducing the Buffalo led to regenerated soil and community health. With a goal of equitable wealth creation within its robust supply chain, NANF aimed to create livelihoods for their community members and Native ranchers (unemployment on the reservation is around 70 percent!), and bring bison back to the prairie, with profound climate and cultural implications.
Read Theo's very interesting article as ESG Investors work with NANF and also watch a powerful video on the return of the Buffalo, all at - https://greenmoney.com/speed-of-trust-a-native-american-investment-example-of-restorative-agriculture-and-economics