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Wild Idea and POC

In the last few weeks, protests for racial justice have taken place in every state in our nation, in over 2,000 cities and towns. In Rapid City, South Dakota, too, where Wild Idea’s offices and processing plant are located, residents have taken to the streets in support of Black Lives Matter.

Black people make up a very small percentage of our area’s population, which can make it difficult to experience the same urgent awakening happening in places like Louisville, Philadelphia, or Los Angeles. The fact that Black people make up a small percentage of our population is no excuse to disengage from the current upheaval in national race relations. That excuse is both ignorant and cowardly.

Our ranch sits adjacent to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation where thousands of people live in poverty as desperate as any minority in the United States. Unemployment runs to 80% on the reservation. Education is substandard and violence is common. Many Lakota people come to Rapid City looking for work and fulfillment of the American promise of fruitful and secure lives. Only a few find that life. Many find the same abuses as Black citizens in New York, Chicago, or rural Georgia.

pow wow on grasslands with sun setting
Wild Idea tries to fight the reality of implicit and blatant racism by supporting a diverse work force based on merit, not skin color. Thirty percent of our workforce are POC. We give what we can to the Boy’s Club (which is mostly Native children), and we support and march in the Native American parade. We show up in court when our employees are arrested for minor infractions that we (as white citizens) would never be stopped for. We pay fines and arrange for rides when driver’s licenses are suspended. We attend Sun Dances and Sweat Lodges. We even comforted the wife of one of our employees who was shot dead on his own porch after she called the police - she called the police for assistance and help, not to shoot her husband.

We are also aligned with Native sourcing partners, and we have a couple Native Americans who are in supervisory and manager positions, but we have no POC in ownership or on our board of directors. None of that is enough and we know we have to do better.

A large part of our business model and mission is to create a balance among all the life entities on the Great Plains. It is an imperfect metaphor, but all the creatures in the Great Plains ecosystem are essential parts of the greater whole. It is like our American society itself; none will thrive unless all thrive. And, it is our duty and mission to work toward that goal. It’s all part of the whole and we’re all a part of it.

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25 comments

  • Thank you for addressing this critical issue.

    Caroline Sheffield
  • Thank you

    Pamela Fairbanks
  • Thank you for all you do to make sustainability about people, as well as the land. Not buying meat anywhere else.

    Monica Van der Vieren
  • I grew up in southeastern South Dakota and my Dad is a retired ELCA Lutheran minister. We were raised with the following values: “Love your neighbor as yourself”, “The story of the good Samaritan”, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world: red and yellow, black and white, all are precious in his sight” and that we should “be good stewards of the earth”. I moved to Florida in the 80’s to finish my education as a physical therapist and over the years, I have treated thousands of people of all colors, creeds and sexual orientations. I always try to interact with others using the above ideas and it seems that it would be a good place for us all to start. Also, thanks for being such good stewards of our beautiful earth! I look forward to my next purchase.

    Beth Mundy
  • Great insight. People would agree that the ingrediants of a loaf of bread by themselves don’t taste very good. Once they are blended and baked they are tasty. So too the world population seperated from one another are not the most productive. A mix of cultures and minds will have the greatest result therefor more happiness. All people want happiness and peace.
    Thanks again for being a great wordsmith and earth dweller. Long live Wild Idea Buffalo!

    Jim Berlin
  • so shocked by the murder of the husband of your employee ! so sad and incredibly desperate…
    I see there is a french person Pascal who wrote.
    Where are you from Pascal ?
    all of you take care
    Astrid

    Astrid
  • the boy asked his grandfather, “why do some people hurt others? his grandfather replied, “our most important function is not to change the outside world to our liking but to seek the peace we desire more than anything else which already resides in our mind. spend your time in its comforting embrace, that beautiful song of yours, allowing to fall away what you find no longer nourishes your peace. this inevitably will lead to true and lasting change. others will be drawn to your peace.”

    Blake O'Quinn
  • Thank you so much for this writing. Ive ordered from you all before based on high quality and now it will be because of high quality, high character and being an outwardly supportive voice for POC. God bless you all 💙🙏🏾

    Shelbye Omondi
  • Just as you are restoring the prairie, wherein all systems work together, you are helping restore humankind, which needs help in working together, with your support of your neighbors and friends. We can all do more. We do what we can, as we can. Wild Idea Buffalo is ahead of that curve, and I commend you all for that. Thank you.

    Liz Aicher
  • Dan, thank you for your insight, your work and for sharing these things with us. In these times we need more people with the type of understanding that you have. The most important thing is that you just don’t think and say, but you put these things into action and doing.

    Don Rigg
  • Now we all know what Colin Kaepernick was trying to say.

    David Kim
  • Kathy and I live in the North Georgia Mountains, and most of my life I have lived in the South. People say and thiunk we have mistreated the Black population—and we have. However, in my opinion, no population or race within the USA has been MORE MISTREATED then our Native American population. Thanks Jill and Dan for what you do for these folks.

    bill day

    Bill Day
  • Thank you. As individuals and a company your follow the dictum to Think Globally and Act Locally. If we all engaged to this level in our own communities we would have a better, safer and more just world.

    Niel E Dilworth
  • Jill and Dan 👍, moving in historical fashion to get us back to Real being human beings🤗

    Thomas Conners
  • Thank you for sharing this insight with us. It is heartbreaking to me what these people have had to overcome for centuries and yet they survive because they are a strong people. The injustice that has happens to black, indigenous and many other people of color in the country is something that we all need leave behind us as we make our way forward into a new reality.

    Mary Lynn Bailey

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