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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  • I am proud to be your customer and, dare I say, friend. The Wild Idea journey is a steady flow of inspiration.

    Doug Williams
  • As I watched the BLM protests my thoughts were with our Native Americans. Thank you for bringing attention to this segment of our population and thank you for all you do to make their lives better. How we spend our money is an ethical decision. Your support of POC is just one of the reasons I choose to buy from Wild Idea.

    Barbara Horton
  • Thank you very much Dan and Jill, again and again for your work.
    All over the world too many people suffer from discriminations,even in my country,France,but we can manage if we fight against racism and pray for the “VIVRE ENSEMBLE “ on this Earth.

  • Thank you! Stay safe and strong.

  • Thank you so so much for all you do in your community to help those less fortunate and being more than an employer to POC. You are good stewards of the land God entrusted you with therefore blessing you to help others. I’m a customer of yours and my heart connects to yours in your endeavors to continue to do great things there. God bless

  • Dan, Jill, and Wild Idea family, this is why we support you! Dan, we know your eloquence is matched by action. To those who live beyond western South Dakota, you may have little opportunity to sense the courage it takes to speak out publicly and act as Dan, Jill and Wild Idea do. We see it and it touches our hearts.

    Donna Fisher
  • Thank you for speaking out against racial injustice. Your words will inspire thoughtful discussions that will hopefully lead to actions in support of lasting change. As a customer and person of color, the actions the company is taking to fight against racism and the work you are doing in support of people of color and racial justice means a lot.

    Kimberley Cronin
  • Thank you for your efforts to assist Native Americans in your company.

    Lois DeWaard
  • Thank you for being so much more than a source for Buffalo meat! You’d humanity for all living beings, because we are all neighbors on this planet shines a light in these dark times.

    Holly Hopper
  • Thank you very much for all that you at Wild Idea are doing to help address the systemic inequality and racism that exists in our country. Your metaphor was, on the contrary, a perfect metaphor

    Brad Nielson

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