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5 Products You Didn’t Know Were Native Made

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Famous Dave’s BBQ –

Famous Dave, aka David W. Anderson, is best known as the founder of Famous Dave’s restaurant chain and creator of a top selling line of BBQ sauces available in grocery stores across the country. What folks may not know is he is the former Assistant Secretary of Indian Affairs in the Department of the Interior, with jurisdiction over the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Office of Indian Education Programs. He is Choctaw and Ojibwe and born in Chicago, where he grew up as well as on reservations in Wisconsin. BBQ was a passion he caught from his dad, a Southerner working the construction trades in the Windy City. They knew where to find the best ribs: the street-corner vendors with their 55 gallon smokers, cooking it up in the tradition of the Deep South. Dave continues to give to the Native community. All proceeds from Famous Dave’s cookbook Rib-O’Licious go to help disadvantaged Native American youth. www.famousdaves.com

 

KivaSun Foods –

KivaSun Foods was founded in 2010 by golf pro Notah Begay III who is Navajo and Pueblo. The company he founded sells fresh and frozen bison steaks, bison burgers, bison dogs, bison chili and bison jerky that are all antibiotic free and with no hormones. Native people have relied on bison for nutritional and spiritual sustenance for ages, and it’s a lower-fat, higher-protein alternative to beef. In 2015, KivaSun won a USDA contract to provide 520,000 pounds of bison for inclusion in the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). KivaSun’s juicy bison tenderloins can be found at Costco, Wal-Mart, and Omaha Steaks and online at kivasunfoods.com. The company’s motto is: Respect the land. Revere the food. Gather together. www.kivasunfoods.com

Bedre’ Fine Chocolates –

Bedré Fine Chocolates, a chocolate-making company four-decades old, was purchased by the Chickasaw Nation from a local entrepreneur in 2000, becoming the first Native American tribe to manufacture chocolates. Since then, Bedré—a Norwegian word meaning “better”—has continued the tradition of making delicious confections and grown into a profitable chocolate-making and selling machine. The magic happens in a 34,600-square-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Davis, Oklahoma. The chocolates are sold online and in numerous locations throughout Oklahoma. They can also be found at the Heard Museum in Phoenix AZ. If you’re in the area, stop by either the Bedré Café, a one-of-a kind coffee bar, candy store, sandwich shop and confectionary inside the Chickasaw-owned Artesian Hotel in Sulphur, Oklahoma or the Chickasaw Cultural center. www.bedrechocolates.com/

Tanka Bar –

Native American Natural Foods took a gamble with an unusual energy bar that mixed buffalo meat and cranberries. They called their product Tanka Bar and introduced it to the market in 2007. It was the first snack bar to combine meat and fruit for the national market. Now, NANF has grown into a thriving food business with Tanka Bars and other related products sold across the country. Designed to provide traditional, long-lasting whole-food-based nutrition, the bar is available online and at major retailers, including Costco, Amazon, REI, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods. Founded on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, NANF owners Karlene Hunter and Mark Tilsen imagined a world filled with healthy foods to curb the dual issues of malnutrition and obesity on the reservation. The delicious Tanka Bar was the result. www.tankabar.com

Noble Juice –

The Roe family, since 1927, grew tangerines and oranges in groves across Florida. For four generations the company pressed the state’s signature fruits into fresh juices under their Noble Juice brand. They wanted to expand their business, but unfortunately, the company lacked the brand recognition and marketing expertise to break into the market. Fortunately, the Seminole Tribe had experience in developing brands and building extensive distribution channels across the state through their Seminole Pride Beef and Naturally Native fresh fruit businesses. They saw an opportunity to partner with Noble Juice. What began as a simple marketing arrangement grew into a long-standing relationship, and the Tribe now owns a majority share of Noble Juice. Noble Juice is now called Seminole Pride Noble Juice and has expanded their product line to include a wide range of fruit juice products including organic and juice-based energy drink products. www.noblejuice.com/