Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lakota Popcorn (feeding frenzy)

OK thank you very much, Hy-Vee --- now I'm hooked on Lakota Popcorn. And because of that feeding frenzy, I have popcorn embedded in the carpet and scattered on the kitchen floor, inconvenient since company's coming (I'm a messy eater).

I suppose you could argue that the Lower Brule Sioux Tribe of South Dakota is really to blame for this, but I did find it on a high shelf at Hy-Vee, noticeable because ofi ts spiffy packaging, standing out because it's blue rather than the usual reds, oranges, yellows and browns that predominate in the "chips" department.

So far I've chewed my way through caramel and white cheddar and am midway through butter-flavored. But what if Chariton Hy-Vee doesn't continue to stock it? Will I have to drive out of town to find popcorn? Troubling questions.

This product trips several of my triggers. In the first place, it tastes good. Secondly, it's a processed food off the shelf that can be tracked to a specific location and specific group of people. Third, it's a value-added product, which means more of the economic benefits accrue to to the people who produce it.

And then there's this Native American thing. Collective guilt can be a useful thing and it makes me feel better about myself to buy stuff from the descendants of folks my EuroAmerican ancestors helped shove off their land and attempted to marginalize --- or just eliminate.

That's why I like Native American casinos, too, but none of the others. There's divine retribution involved when elderly EuroAmerican types with walkers and on oxygen hobble into the Meskwaki Casino, for example, to fritter away their Social Security checks. The profits of their folly stay close to home and benefit the Meskwaki. See the same thing happen out at Terrible's or up at Prairie Meadows, and it's just sad.

Lakota Popcorn is produced by Lakota Foods, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the tribe's Lower Brule Farm Corporation which, among other things, produces 10-12 million pounds of popcorn annually on tribal land as well as beef, bison and edible beans.

Want more information? The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe's Web site is here and the Lakota Foods Web site is here. The tribe is located along the west bank of the Missouri River in central South Dakota, north of Interstate 90 between Chamberlain and Pierre.

Construction by the U.S. government during the 1950s and 1960s of massive Missouri River dams destroyed most of the tribe's prime land as well as trees, plants and animals of the river valley. Today, waters impounded by those dams allow the tribes to irrigate remaining cropland --- and produce popcorn.

Now I've got to go try to get  that caramel corn out of the carpet.

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