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Protests fair incident

I would like for you to envision in your mind a scene in 1873, when fields upon fields of slaughtered buffalo lay to rot, with only the tongues cut out of their mouths for trade with the nearest trader, the rest of the carcass lying in the sweltering sun, waiting for the wolves to come and strip the bones.

Do you remember why that was done?

History books blame the introduction of the railways, but the main purpose behind the action was to destroy the food source of the American Plains Indians so that they would be forced to accept the assistance of a government that wanted to take away their rights and their lands.

The same thing is happening again, but it has been masked and made to seem like a health issue. It is said that all game meats now need to be USDA inspected if they are to be sold, or used in cultural, clan or pow wow feeds. No longer will meat be allowed if it is not USDA inspected. Once again, the American Indians are being starved out, kept from using resources in the open hunting available to Crows.

At Crow Fair, a faceless body sent police officers over to take away our right to sell buffalo jerky and dried deer meat. The reason was because the meat was not USDA certified.

We still have no idea who is behind this action.

The buffalo we are selling had been packaged by butchers, donated by the Yellowstone Bison Association. It came from the buffalo herd on the Big Horn Mountains and given to a local foundation. The other dry meat soup stands at Crow Fair did not have a USDA certification on their meat either, but they were not asked to stop selling.

Why is this being allowed? Has no one thought of the consequences of this action? Has no one realized that by this action the federal government is once again dictating to you that you are not allowed to eat your cultural foods and with today’s economy and the lack of jobs in this area that this is the same as telling you to starve? First your foods that are served at feeds and concessions are attacked; the next will be meat in your homes. Are you going to just let this happen, again?

Only by having a unified voice can these things be stopped and reversed. Let’s hope it isn’t already too late.

– Gay Deputee
Hardin, Mont.