About Us

A Native American way of wellness

Native American Natural Foods, LLC, is focused on creating a family of nationally branded buffalo-based food products that are delicious and that promote a Native American way of wellness that feeds mind, body, and spirit.

Beginning with its first product line, which features Tanka Bar, Tanka Bites, Tanka Dogs and Tanka Sticks, Native American Natural Foods provides a category of natural healthy choices in the marketplace that currently does not exist.

About Our CEO

Dawn Sherman brings over 25 years of business expertise and entrepreneurial skills to her role as CEO of Native American Natural Foods’ Tanka bar.  A member of the Lakota, Shawnee and Delaware tribes, Dawn is keenly aware of the fundamental needs facing individuals at the community level on the reservation. Her South Dakota roots inform her decision making and she is dedicated to seeking improvements in the food systems that benefit the health and wellness of her indigenous community as well as the community at large. Dawn believes teamwork and meaningful collaboration are essential to success and looks to the operational Niman Ranch partnership as key to continuing the Tanka vision.

Previously, Dawn worked in key financial leadership roles in the automotive industry, increasing dealership portfolios as well as assisting in developing policies and procedures to streamline sales and financial efficiency. 

She is a founding member of Tanka Resilient Agriculture Coop a South Dakota collective dedicated to returning bison to lands, and improving the lives and economies of Native Communities.  She is also a founding board member of The Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, an ecosystem of people and organizations committed to making sustainable ranching and farming a collective norm. She is also a board member of the Tanka Fund, a not-for-profit that supports tribal bison caretakers with direct grants for ranch planning, finance and operations.

As the second generation of Native Leadership and as a Native woman, Dawn’s unique vision combined with her deep experience in the food industry, allows her the opportunity to give back to her own community and further her vision of food sovereignty for all. 

Adding value

By adding value to traditional Native food products, using modern scientific methods and the least amount of processing possible, Native American Natural Foods innovates value-added products for the U.S. consumer marketplace.

Founded in 2006 on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, owners Karlene Hunter and Mark Tilsen imagine a world filled with healthy foods that add to the restoration and preservation of our lands and ecosystem -- a world without the pain of starvation or obesity. The world they imagine embraces the lifestyle that Native American people lived just over a century ago.

Heart, mind, body and spirit

 Buffalo "Tanka" is used in reference to delivering your best with all your heart, mind, body and spirit. It is the choices that you make and the actions that you take to be who you are. Whether you're Native, white, black, yellow or brown, it is your ability to overcome, to extend a helping hand for those in need, to defeat racism, to protect our Mother Earth, and to love all others on our planet.

 It is your ability Live Life Powerfully and to acknowledge "Mitakuye Oyasin" -- we are all related.