Karlene Hunter and Mark Tilsen founded Tanka Bars in 2006. It was the first commercial bison meat and fruit bar made in South Dakota from the Pine Ridge Reservation. Their goal was to create a Native American-produced product that helped reduce the unemployment rate on the reservation and become a cultural and economic force to restore the buffalo’s place in the lives of the Oglala Lakota people.
Tanks bars were inspired by Wasna, which is a cultural food made from pounded and dried buffalo meat and berries. “Wasna” loosely translated means “all mixed up.” the preparation of wasna has been passed down through generations of the Lakota people. Wasna would traditionally be packed into a buffalo horn for hunters and warriors so they could take it on the trail with them because it could last for weeks.
Pictured above is Dawn Sherman, the CEO of Tanka. She manages the financial and business office for Native American Natural Foods and is a tribally enrolled member of the Shawnee and Delaware Tribes.
Tanka Bars are available in all 4 of our stores in Carrboro, Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, and Raleigh.
Learn more about Tanka here: www.tankabar.com