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Native American communities recognised in beer initiative

The Native Land beer initiative, led by Bow and Arrow Brewing, has spilled over into more than two dozen communities across the US.

@nativelandbeer Instagram

Bow and Arrow Brewing, which is the first and only female-owned Native American brewery, set out on a mission to do something positive for Native American communities and as a result created the Native Land Beer campaign.

Bow and Arrow Brewing CEO and founder Shyla Sheppard said: “I saw the opportunity to educate the public. And a way to generate funds for Native communities.”

As part of the project, Bow and Arrow developed a Native Land recipe that can be brewed as either a West Coast or hazy IPA. The recipe has then been shared with participating breweries with the beer packaged in a can with a label that acknowledges the ancestral land on which it was brewed.

Bow and Arrow is near Sixth NW and Interstate 40, so it’s ‘Native Land’ beer can recognises the Tiwa people who once lived in the area.

Participating breweries have also pledged to donate the profits from package and taproom sales to an organisation that benefits Native Americans and their communities. All brewers who want to participate have until March to brew and package their Native Land beer.

So far, 30 breweries across the US have signed on to the campaign, including in Alaska, Alabama, Tennessee, California, New York and Oklahoma. Other participating breweries in New Mexico are Bosque, Marble, Second Street and Bathtub Row.

Sheppard added: “Now my goal is to have a brewery from every state. I think that is possible.”

The campaign, which continues to gain momentum, has broadened its reach by asking people to tag breweries on Instagram that they want to see participate.

Sheppard, who grew up on Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota and is a member of the Mandan, Hidatsa & Arikara Nation and started the brewery with her wife, Missy Begay, who grew up in Albuquerque as a member of the Navajo Nation. According to Sheppard, although New Mexicans are fortunate enough to live close to Native culture, not everyone in every state has that opportunity.

“This campaign demonstrates to people that we still exist,” she said, noting how “we are demonstrating that as Native people, we can be successful. We want to dispel harmful stereotypes”.

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