Layers of Bureaucracy
We have had our preliminary inspection and the grand opening celebration ceremonies for the Charging Buffalo Facility and now we are completing the hurdles defined by health and safety to allow us to file for certification of the facility.
There are some exciting steps being taken as you read this letter. The Tanka Fund Organization, sponsored by Native American Natural Foods, has provided a grant for completion of work needed to allow the growth of the buffalo herd. This work includes mending and installing fences and the purchase of an ATV to help with supervising the herd.
Also, Everybody Solar, an organization that provides solar equipment to non-profits, is installing solar power on both the Allen Youth Center and the Charging Buffalo Facility. This installation will allow both facilities to be much more sustainable with greatly reduced overhead costs.
The Indian Health Service, a branch of the Federal Department of Health and Human Services, has completed an inspection of the Charging Buffalo Facility and has provided a list of things that need to be done to achieve final certification from them. Following the completion of their list, there are two steps to complete. First, reaching Custom-Exempt certification by the State which allows us to provide a processing service for local buffalo herd management programs, cattle ranchers and hunters and will keep the local processing on the Reservation and provide food for the Lakota. The next step will then be to apply for USDA certification.
The list generated by the Indian Health Service is quite small compared to all we have been through to reach this juncture. Their certification is vital. We have intense support from the Tribal Dept. of Parks who manages the Tribal Buffalo Herd, and also have positive interest from several off-Reservation sources in buying buffalo meat from the Charging Buffalo Facility once complete certification is achieved. Our first goal is to provide healthful protein to the Lakota themselves and secondly provide self-sustaining meat supply that results in employment and the traditional full use of the buffalo. Further, being able to sell meat off the Reservation is part of One Spirit's aim to help the Oglala Lakota help themselves.
The list of needed items generated by the health inspection includes such things as: a back-flow prevention device, ware washing sinks (three or four compartment stainless steel sinks for proper washing and sanitizing of equipment), separate hand washing sinks, methods for determining potency levels of chemical sanitizers, food handling safety training for all employees, a washer and dryer to adequately launder rags and clothing, replacing some reinforced fiber boards that a contractor installed incorrectly, and an overhead door to allow easy access for animals and thorough cleaning, air trap construction on front door and automatic closing devices.
The cost of these items amounts to about $15,000.00. A generous supporter is putting up half of these required funds. This wonderful "angel" has suggested that we give all the people who have already invested in this project an opportunity to be involved in this final push to victory by making what we intend to be one final donation if at all possible. We are on the cusp of a huge benefit for the Lakota people, and given how much time, money, and effort has been expended to reach this point, we need this comparatively small "nudge" to achieve this victory.
If you can participate in this push for certification, the One Spirit “Angel” will match all donations up to $7000 to allow the buffalo house to reach the next plateau. He is inpatient, as are we, to now see the fruitful beginning of this great buffalo adventure.
With much gratitude and respect for you and for all that you have done.