The Kukuse Problem

The Kukuse Problem

Sunday, February 17, 2002
| Psalm 32

Native Americans on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota are holding their noses and objecting to a plan that would introduce up to a million large, stinking animals, as their neighbors. At least they recognize when there's a stench in the neighborhood.

You're looking at a creature with short legs. Cloven hoofs. Stout body. Bristly hair. A cartilaginous snout, used for rooting. What do you got?

On the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, they're not sure. There is no word for "pig" in Lakota, the ancient language of these Native Americans. The closest is kukuse, which means "large, stinking animal."

You might assume that they don't need a word for "pig." Kind of like Eskimos don't need a word for "beach ball."

But you'd be wrong. Over the past year, hogs have come to outnumber members of the Rosebud tribe by more than 2 to 1. Introduced by the North-Dakota-based Bell Farming Group, there are now about 50,000 animals on the reservation, and the group plans to expand the facility and raise nearly a million hogs a year - making it the country's third-largest hog farm. Executives of the Bell Farming Group see it as "an opportunity to help the Indian people."

But many members of the tribe don't like the smell of this economic...

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