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Monie HorseChief cooks frybreadTULSA, Okla. – There’s always teasing and laughter in a Native kitchen. Especially when the chef is “World Frybread Champion” and “Frybread Queen” Ramona “Monie” HorseChief.

On this Wednesday, she’s working in the kitchen in the break room of Tiger Natural Gas, a Native American-owned company located in south Tulsa. It hired Monie, who is Pawnee and Cherokee, to cater a special lunch of her locally well-known, championship-winning Indian tacos. Her homemade chili simmers on the stove. One batch is vegetarian – made with vegetable stock, fresh bell peppers and onions. A larger batch is beef and bean. A cracked door creates a breeze that carries the delicious aromas into the offices beyond. People wander in and out every few minutes, asking when it’s going to be time to eat.

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QUAPAW – He drove past a set of greenhouses every day on his way to and from work. And every day, he’d think about those greenhouses and what growing food for his people would mean.

“I’ve always been interested in agriculture. The tribe owns a lot of land that isn’t being used. It’s a good way to diversify ourselves and it’s a good way to align with our culture as a tribe,” Quapaw Chairman John Berrey said.

He’d already been instrumental in getting a herd of bison for the tribe - taking that first step toward a full on agricultural program for the Quapaw.

“We got the bison to provide protein for our tribal citizens,” he said. They haven’t slaughtered any yet, but plan to begin this Fall.

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Libby Kaler places a rainbow trout fillet on a hot cedar plank. PHOTO BY LISA SNELLOKMULGEE – Like any good cook, Elizabeth ‘Libby’ Kaler knows her way around a kitchen – in spite of once ending up in the oven.

“It was my own fault. I can’t remember if my grandma was putting something in the oven or taking it out, but I’m sure I was all up in there being nosy, trying to see what was going on,” she said.

She laughs now when she talks about it. She doesn’t remember the pain, she says, but she does remember sitting in church with her arms bandaged up.

“I sat there picking at the tape hoping my mom wouldn’t see me.” She flashed a grin and chuckled at the memory.

It was her first mishap in the kitchen and she is certain she has many more coming.

“I burn myself more than anything,” she said.

She points out dark spots along each arm and the backs of her hands. “See?”

Kaler is the Executive Chef for Stone Blade, a restaurant owned and operated by the Muscogee (Creek) Nation.

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DAVIS (AP) – In the shadows of the Arbuckle Mountains, the Chickasaws make chocolate - world-famous chocolate.

Though most of Oklahoma’s 38 federally recognized tribal nations have spent the past century rebuilding their culture and leveraging gaming opportunities to build tribal economies, the Chickasaw Nation has gone a step further.

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