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February 17, 2021

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Meet Chris White Eagle

Congratulations Chris! We are honored to have you lead our plant team. 

Plant Manager Chris White Eagle

For the past fourteen years, Chris White Eagle has been an employee of Wild Idea Buffalo Company. He has worked every position in the plant and also on the harvest crew. When there was a void, Chris would step it up, seeking out the opportunity for more responsibility and growth. We are delighted to introduce Chris to you today as our new Plant Manager.

Chris has been cutting meat for the past twenty years. He learned in an “on the job training” environment and honed his skills over the years – so much so, that in 2019, he earned a spot on “America’s Top Butcher” series, where he made it all the way to the last round before finals.

His speed and his attention to the Wild Idea way of doing things is second to none. But perhaps his best quality is that of leadership. Chris oversees a plant staff of twelve, two of which are his sons. He is a mentor to all, teaching them the craft of artisan butchery and to take pride in that work. A lifelong skill that will serve them well, allowing them to establish a career and earn a good living.

Chris’ leadership doesn’t stop at the workplace, he and his wife Tara, took over Chris’ late father’s (Daron White Eagle) Wambliska Society; a non-profit that teaches youth their Native culture. This includes; Native language, spirituality, making their own regalia, drumming & dancing and they host intramural basketball tournaments, where the kids receive a pair of new basketball shoes. Recently, Wambliska Society added a mentorship program and a suicide prevention program.

Native Dancers

Chris stated that the last six months have been difficult in the community due to a higher rate of suicide within our Native youth. Current suicide deaths within the community, including on the reservations, are one to two children per week.

Chris and Tara are leaders in the Woyatan Church (a Lutheran Church affiliate) and is currently the only church holding wakes and funerals. These services are for the whole community, not just the Native community. Chris states, “At Woyatan, we don’t see color." Fortunately, they're able to hold services within the CDC guidelines with the assistance of Oyeta Health, who provides the needed PPE supplies. Drumming & singing for these services is provided by the Wambliska Society.

On the outside wall of the building there is a memorial site for Missing Murdered Indigenous Relatives (MMIR), where people come to mourn and pay tribute - they draw hand prints, along with the name of their relative. The wall includes the name of Kevin Marshall, Chris’ cousin and a former employee of Wild Idea, who is greatly missed.

Chris is also part of a Prisoner Support Group and is the current acting president. Their goal is to help the incarcerated transition back into society. There are two rooms in the back of the Woyatan Church, where they can house up to eight people.

When COVID is over – Chris hopes to start a bi-weekly talking circle and drumming group inside the jail. For now, they drum and sing outside the jail to let them know they are not forgotten and that the community has not given up hope.

Chris and Tara also participate in the Juvenile Diversion Program, which finds alternative ways for youth correction instead of locking kids up. The kids participate in the Wambliska Society and are given community service. Chris states, “I’m not trying to save the world, but if we can give kids hope, and the parents who are in trouble support and save one or two, we are headed in the right direction.”

When asked what motivates him, Chris replied with, "I’m the father of seven, I don’t want to get that phone call. We found your son; we found your daughter. I don’t wish that on anyone.”

Wambliska Society is a 501c3. They are mostly funded through the Lutheran Church and the Juvenile Diversion Program, a handful of contributions and their own funds. If you would like to offer support you can do so at wambliska.org
or, mail directly to : Wambliska Society, 5411 Pine Street, Black Hawk SD 57718

Art to Benefit Wambliska Society

Artist Angela Beharnds was so moved when she saw the Wambliska Society dancers and listened to some of their testimonials, that she has offered to donate the sale of her amazing “Wired Buffalo” sculpture to the Wambliska Society. You can purchase it here. All proceeds will go to help youth and those in need of help.


Comments

pat

February 17, 2021

Bless Chris and the Wambliska Society! Thank you.

Gerald Carl

February 17, 2021

a great man, bless him

Givi

February 17, 2021

Chris,
Thank you for your work ethics in all you do and believe in.
You are outstandingly…awesome!

Christine

February 17, 2021

What a fantastic family. Wild Idea knows all the best people for real!

Jane Nachazel-Ruck

February 17, 2021

So uplifting!. Chris is a wonderful and much needed role model and inspiration for us all! My husband and I hope he is refreshed by knowing how many out here appreciate all that he is and does for the world!

Michael Berryhill

February 17, 2021

Aho! Metakoye Oyasin!
All My Relations!

Bob MacCargar

February 17, 2021

The world needs more people like him!!

Thomas Conners

February 17, 2021

Very great extension to the Wild Idea ways. I’ve Followed your Story for Years and all the great Videos. Congratulations

Susan L Wright

February 17, 2021

Congratulations Chris White Eagle!
Thank you for inspiring so many.
What a good fit for you at Wild Idea as
you both share such effort towards a better world.

Chris and Kim

February 17, 2021

Congratulations Chris on your new posting. The work of you and your wife to benefit the children and society is highly commendable and honorable. Hats off and respect to you!

Laura Tabacca

February 18, 2021

Everything you guys support is amazing. You are everything this country needs—and Chris is too.

Kathryn

February 18, 2021

What a beautiful soul. We need more like him.

Vernon Cross

February 18, 2021

With God’s Great Spirit directing us there’s always means of improving who we are and what we do. Chris is a tremendously inspiring leader helping to show the way to live out the five tenets of godliness: Loving, Learning, Obeying, Selflessly Serving, and Teaching. God bless you mightily, my brother, as you help lift others as on the wings of the eagle.

Immer Claude

February 18, 2021

Hi from Switzerland
I am very touch by your story and all my thoughts are with you for going on with what you doing
Best Claude

Larry Peterson

February 18, 2021

I have had the honor of knowing Chris, his late Father, and his family for over a decade. He is a special gift to all of us living in western South Dakota and far beyond. Larry

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