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.


  • Posted on by Caroline Sheffield

    Thank you for addressing this critical issue.

  • Posted on by Pamela Fairbanks

    Thank you

  • Posted on by Monica Van der Vieren

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

  • Posted on by Beth Mundy

    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.

  • Posted on by Jim Berlin

    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!

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