In a 4- to 5- quart crockery cooker, place the potatoes, carrots, onion and celery. Sprinkle tapioca over the vegetables. Add meat. In a medium bowl, combine undrained tomatoes, sugar, Italian seasoning, if you like, salt and pepper; pour over meat. Cover; cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or on high-heat setting for 5 to 6 hours.
If buffalo (bison) or beef stew meat is unavailable, use a one 1-1/2-pound buffalo (bison) or beef chuck pot roast. Trim fat from meat. Cut meat into 1-inch cubes. Continue as above.