Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2006


Published in Great Plains Research 16:1 (Spring 2006). Copyright © 2006 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska – Lincoln. Used by permission.


In recent years, bison products have been incorporated into the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR). This paper examines the factors leading up to this particular development and the structural problems that have yet to be resolved within the program. Altogether, the findings illustrate that cultural traditions, health problems, and economic concerns instigated the federal government to embark upon this new policy. Unfortunately, while the program has responded to tribal demands in certain respects, it has not resolved underlying structural inequalities between tribal and nontribal communities. In particular, the FDPIR does not acknowledge the problematic nature of production-consumption networks within the program. These networks currently undermine some of the fundamental reasons for including bison in the FDPIR.