For the last couple years the Bison Program has been working on “The Southern Ute Bison Cookbook.” Good news for tribal members is that there is a release date in sight.
Coming end of May, tribal members can expect to see the official release of the bison cookbook, Bison Educator Marge Borst said. The cookbook will be made available to all tribal members for free.
The Bison Program cookbook boasts 21 bison recipes, along with; 9 other game meat, 13 vegetable and side dishes, and six bread and dessert recipes.
“We didn’t only eat bison,” she said. “We ate other meats like deer and elk as well.”
Borst said that she has held multiple interviews with tribal members, including elders, which gave her a better insight on food and its importance to the culture.
“Food is sacred to us, food is everything,” she said.
For those who are health conscious, the cookbook will include nutritional values and serving sizes for each recipe – bison has considerably less fat and calories than beef.
She hopes the cookbook will motivate tribal members to try bison and hopefully get some members to start implementing bison into their diets.
“Once the cookbook is released the herd may need to be increased,” Borst joked.
The cookbook and distribution of bison meat is all made possible by the collaboration between the Culture Department and the Division of Wildlife Resource Management.
The Division of Wildlife maintains the tribe’s herd – that currently consists of one mature bull, 15 mature cows, three two-year-old heifers, and ten yearlings for a total of 29 bison. No calves to date, but there are hopes for 13 calves this year.
The Bison Program currently has 370 people signed up in the program. Each tribal member household is entitled to 10 pounds of bison meat per month. The 10 pounds of meat consists of different cuts of meats to keep it fair for everyone in the program, and it is all on a first come first serve basis.
“We try to have new meat every five to six weeks,” Lovvis Downs-Glass said. “We only have enough freezer space to keep two animals.”
Right now, tribal members are welcomed to call the Culture Department to fill out a request for specific parts of the buffalo, but there are no guarantees.
“It all depends on what is available,” Elise Redd Culture Department Director said.
Tribal members wanting to sign up to receive bison meat can visit Lovvis Downs-Glass in the Division of Wildlife located inside the Annex building, room 128.