West Yellowstone, MT - As the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service considers the need to list Yellowstone Bison as a threatened or endangered species, there is a growing momentum among the interested Tribes to assert their inherent jurisdiction over wild buffalo and usher in a new era of stewardship over America’s national mammal. According to Nez Perce environmental scientist James Holt, the executive director of Buffalo Field Campaign, such an historic agreement between sovereign nations working with federal stewards would represent nothing less than the beginning of “true reparations” for the long-standing practice of cultural genocide, or ethnocide, that is still being perpetuated by the cattle industry to preserve their monopoly on public lands forage in the West.
Washington – The Department of the Interior today announced several new steps to restore wild and healthy populations of American bison and the prairie grassland ecosystem. Through a new Secretary’s Order and over $25 million from the Inflation Reduction Act, the Department will empower its bureaus and partners to use the best available science and Indigenous Knowledge to help restore bison across the country. “The American bison is inextricably intertwined with Indigenous culture, grassland ecology and American history.
Congratulations to the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes on their recent acquisition of the National Bison Range. In September 2018, I made my first official trip as assistant secretary-Indian affairs to the homelands of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. The purpose of the trip was to learn about the irrigation project on the Flathead Reservation. I learned about the challenges with rate setting, aging infrastructure, the differing needs of Indian and non-Indian water users, water rights, the history behind the project and the need for a fair and just water claims settlement with the federal government. In addition to the irrigation project, I had the opportunity to visit the National Bison Range and learn about the cultural significance of the bison, and the range, to the Salish and Kootenai peoples.
This morning, Comfrey Jacobs, a twenty-year old citizen concerned for wild bison, placed life, limb and freedom on the line by blocking the access road to Yellowstone National Park’s Stephens Creek bison trap in hopes of preventing more of America’s last wild, migratory bison — the most important bison populations in the world — from being shipped to slaughter. To date, approximately 450 wild buffalo have been captured in Yellowstone National Park’s Stephens Creek bison trap, located in the Gardiner Basin. Most of the buffalo have been and will be shipped to slaughter, while some are going to government research facilities. To date, more than 200 bison have been shipped to slaughter and 250 more have been killed by hunters. Mr. Jacobs spent a number of week’s in the Gardiner Basin, where bison capture and slaughter operations and intense hunting have been taking place.