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Published October 11, 2013, 08:24 PM

Fort Totten school serves up culture, history with school lunches

A school in Fort Totten is turning the lunch hour into a time for students to learn about their heritage. The school has started serving buffalo meat in school lunches.

By: Adam Ladwig, WDAZ

A school in Fort Totten is turning the lunch hour into a time for students to learn about their heritage. The school has started serving buffalo meat in school lunches.

School officials say it's a healthier alternative, and helps students learn about where they came from.

Four Winds is the first Indian school in the state to put buffalo in school lunches. The Intertribal Buffalo Council is working with the school to offer the meat at a discount.

Charles: "They're going to give us the cost of the buffalo meat at Hamburger rates," said Four Winds Principal Charles Morin.

Morin says they first tested the program this summer.

Charles: "They brought cooks up from Rapid City to train our staff to cook buffalo meat to make hamburgers, or pizza, a variety of different things."

Kids can be notoriously picky eaters, but both the staff and students here at four winds say whenever buffalo meat's on the menu, they eat it right up. Teachers say the buffalo meat is a better alternative to other red meats.

Nataile Deplazes, Four Winds Teacher: "Buffalo meat is a healthy meat, an extremely lean meat, so the healthier foods we serve in the school, the better."

But the school says the greatest benefit comes from the cultural impact buffalo is having on students.

Charles: "That was part of how we sustained our lives. The buffalo were part of us. Wherever they went we followed, and that's part of why we're still here today."

Teachers are incorporating the buffalo into their lesson plans

Natalie: "The ancestors of our students lived off of buffalo, so it teaches them to appreciate the meat."

Charles: "We're trying to revive our language, and with our language, the buffalo's part of the culture, so they're kind of hand in hand."

The goal is to keep Native American culture alive in these students, so they can pass it along to the next generation.

Charles: "You have to know where you came from in order to know where you're going to go."

Buffalo meat is only being served at Four Winds about once a month, but principal Charles Morin says he hopes to soon start serving buffalo to students once a week.

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