Bison was the main source of protein and source of leather for First nations of North America before European settlers arrived. Bison meat represented sustenance, for millions of natives and was revered by all Prairie First Nations.
Originally from Asia, these huge, magnificent, and peaceful animals arrived in North America during the Pleistocene Ice Age via the Bering Strait, and spread throughout western Canada and the U.S.A thriving on the endless grasslands.
At the beginning of the 19th century there were an estimated 40 to 55 million buffalo in North America, but by the end of the century only a few hundred were left. Conservationists forced governments to cerate national parks to protect these magnificent animals, and by 2000 their numbers had increased to 250 000. Scientists are predicting an inventory of one million by 2011, which may be achievable but not likely.
Bison meat is rich in omega 3 fatty acids, is lean, and fine textured. 100 grams of cooked buffalo meat contains only 2.5 grams fat, whereas the same amount of beef has more than nine grams, pork close to 10, and chicken a little more than seven.
Buffalo meat available in retails stores is ranch-raised, and can be ordered on line or phone direct from producers. Ground meat sausages, short ribs, chuck roast, filet, strip loin, ribs and strip loin tips are available. Farms also supply recipes upon request.
In restaurants bison meat is featured, but never became popular as beef or pork, although it contains less fat, tastes fine, and is nutritionally superior to both beef, and pork.