The Standing Rock Sioux Reservation covers approximately 2.3 million acres and straddles the North Dakota and South Dakota border. The reservation has a population of 6,171 people and an unemployment rate of 71%. Farming and ranching are the major economic activities on the reservation and management of natural resources has great importance both economically and culturally. Discussions with community members indicated that unemployment, diet and natural resource management were major concerns for the Standing Rock community but state and federal research institutions did not have a strong background in working with Native American communities. To address these issues, Sitting Bull Tribal College, North Dakota State University, South Dakota State University and the Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, USDA-ARS, collaborated on a funded project to investigate the potential to develop a natural meat project on the Standing Rock reservation. The collaborative institutions received a $5 million AFRI grant to develop the concept of a natural meat project on the reservation. A multi-disciplinary team of soil, range, wildlife and animal scientists along with communication scientists, extension experts in food safety and preparation and Native American change agents was assembled. The natural resource management emphasis on this phase has focused on understanding the interactions between prairie dog and livestock herbivory on different ecological sites and developing insights into prairie dog colony dynamics and colony impacts on grassland birds. Other team members have worked to enhance communication between Standing Rock community members and the project team and to provide food preparation and safety information to the Standing Rock community. While challenges remain the team approach provides opportunities for research in collaboration with Native American communities.
Oral presentation and poster titles, abstracts, and authors from the Society for Range Management (SRM) Annual Meetings and Tradeshows, from 2013 forward.