high-fat, high-sodium, low-fiber menu is a typical lunch at many American
elementary schools. Deep-fried popcorn chicken, tiny taters tots,
bread, barbecue sauce, ketchup, and milk are menu mainstays routinely
featured alongside fatty items such as pizza, french fries, hot dogs,
and a mystery pork product called ribicue. On a national
level these typical offerings to school age children have galvanized
not only high-profile chefs such as Jamie Oliver and Rachael Ray but
also First Lady Michelle Obama.
On a local level the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma through its Bison
Program has decided to do something about the local Perkins-Tryon
ISD lunch menu. The Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council (ITBC) offers a
grant used to help decrease the health risk in our educational systems
by incorporating buffalo meat into childrens diets. As a recipient
of the ITBC grant The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Bison program, the
Oklahoma Farm to School Program, the Perkins Family Clinic Community
Health Department and the Perkins-Tryon Independent School District
will offer their first buffalo meat integration into the school
menu November 13th of this year.
Bison the red meat of the new millennium is a delicious,
healthy alternative to beef, pork, chicken, and fish. Bison is nutrient
dense, low in calories and has a greater concentration of iron and
Vitamin E, which has a positive impact on combating diabetes, heart
disease and a number of diet related health issues.
Washington, Agriculture Director and Buffalo Herd Administrator,
the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma hasbeen preserving our buffalo
herds since early 2000, its part of our heritage as Ioway
people. Our connection to the buffalo has always been in existence
in our oral traditions, in our dances and in our clans, those ties
still exist today. We take every precaution to make sure our 72
member herd is healthy and thriving. Part of that means DNA testing
to insure we have a diverse healthy buffalo herd. Our entire herd
is grass fed and hormone free being able to share the benefits nutritionally
with our surrounding community is exciting.
Perkins-Tryon Independent School District is our initial
attempt at incorporating bison meat into area school lunch programs
and we are the first and only tribe in Oklahoma to participate in
such an endeavor. Hopefully, other tribal herd programs will want
to follow the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma lead. If they do, bison will
dominate school lunch programs in Oklahoma, said Chalis Cox
Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma Business Committee Secretary.