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Business & Economics

Tanka Bar Founder Sits-In On Federal Talks

Courtesy Native American Natural Foods

The CEO of a health food business based on the Pine Ridge Reservation has returned home from a conference with President Barack Obama. 

The founder of Native American Natural Foods had a unique opportunity to sit in on meetings between tribal leaders and government agency heads as well as hear the president speak.

Karlene Hunter says she felt honored to be invited to private meetings between tribal leaders from across the country and federal agency representatives. 

“And for Native American Natural Foods and the Tanka Bar to be recognized as a spokesperson for the private sector,” Hunter explains. “And the White House recognizing how the private sector and small business is one of the major factors in building a strong economy.”

Among the federal agencies taking part in the meetings were the Departments of Interior, Commerce, Energy, Labor and Agriculture, the Small Business Administration and the Food and Drug Administration.

Karlene Hunter says the president also spoke to the conference advising that it’s everyone’s responsibility to move Indian Country forward.

“President Obama came in and talked about the future of Native nations and how we’re all in this together,” says Hunter.  

Karlene Hunter adds that the tribes have to start taking the initiative themselves while still requiring the federal government to live up to its trust responsibilities.

She says the tribes also need to start working together as one and to think outside the box for solutions.