At Spirit Lake, school begins offering buffalo on menuA school here at the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation is turning the lunch hour into a time for students to learn about their heritage.
By: Adam Ladwig, Forum News Service
FOR TOTTEN, N.D. — A school here at the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation is turning the lunch hour into a time for students to learn about their heritage.
The Four Winds School has started serving buffalo meat for lunch in lieu of beef. It’s the first Indian school in the state to do so.
“The ancestors of our students lived off of buffalo, so it teaches them to appreciate the meat,” said teachers Natalie Deplazes.
She and other faculty members have incorporated the buffalo into their lesson plans.
“We had buffalo burgers because we watched a buffalo get skinned,” said student Paige Alberts.
“We’re trying to revive our language, and with our language, the buffalo’s part of the culture, so they’re kind of hand in hand,” said Principal Charles Morin.
Buffalo meat also has the advantage of being healthier than other red meats, school staff says.
“Buffalo meat is a healthy meat, an extremely lean meat, so the healthier foods we serve in the school, the better,” said Deplazes.
Morin said the school first tested the buffalo meat program this summer.
“They brought cooks up from Rapid City (S.D.) to train our staff to cook buffalo meat to make hamburgers, or pizza, a variety of different things,” he said.
How have students reacted to buffalo for lunch? Many say it’s become a popular part of the menu?
“It had more flavor,” said Alberts.
Four Winds now serve buffalo just once a month but Morin said he hopes to start serving the meat once a week.
He said the Intertribal Buffalo Council is working with the school to offer the meat at a discount, at the same price as beef hamburgers.