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Buffalo is On the Menu at Quapaw Tribe's Elder Center, Children' - KOAM TV 7

First Deliveries Made From Tribe's Herd of 80; Agri-Ranching Program In Full Swing

Buffalo is On the Menu at Quapaw Tribe's Elder Center, Children's Learning Center

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QUAPAW, OKLAHOMA -

The Quapaw Tribe is reintroducing high-quality buffalo meat to its members' diets. The first delivery of buffalo was made to the Tribe's Elder Center where its Nutrition Program is based, and next door to the O-Gah-Pah Learning Center where pre-schoolers and elementary age students will enjoy what was long ago their ancestors' primary source of protein.

"These deliveries complete the circle that makes our Agriculture Program a real farm-to-table operation," said Quapaw Chairman John Berrey. "This is a very high quality of grain-fed, all natural buffalo — we controlled the entire process — so we feel good about introducing this meat into our Tribal member's diets."

Glenda Nelson, the cook at the Learning Center in Quapaw, said she looked forward to using the ground buffalo to make meatloaf, spaghetti and other dishes for the children and staff. "This is going to be fabulous," Nelson said. "This buffalo meat is lean and all natural, hormone free, so it will be a very healthy way to eat."

The Tribe's Title 6 Nutrition Program provides about 75 meals a day at the Elder Center, and another 80 meals three days a week that are delivered to members homes, said Director Rhonda Weaver. "Oh gosh, we are going to be making Indian tacos, buffalo burgers, and all kinds of good things. We love it," Weaver said.

The Tribe's Agriculture Program is located and operated mostly on the property near its Downstream Casino Resort in the very northeast tip of Oklahoma. About two years ago the Tribe put a dozen buffalo in nearby land, and the herd has grown to about 80 head now. The first two buffalo were recently processed by McFerron Meats in Nowata, Okla., and yielded 800 pounds of meat. The Quapaw Agriculture Program also has about 400 head of Black Angus Cattle, from which high-quality beef is just beginning to reach the fine-dining tables in Downstream Casino's Red Oak Steakhouse. The Agriculture Program has four greenhouses that provide the casino restaurants with all-natural produce including heirloom tomatoes, squash, and a wide variety of fresh herbs.

"We're becoming a pretty big operation," said Chris Roper, director of the Tribe's Quapaw Services division that oversees the agricultural projects. "It feels very satisfying to see the first buffalo meat delivered, and the first beef coming in. We have taken a lot of pride in how we take care of these animals, and now we will take pride in how great the food is."

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