Wild Bison to Return Home to Tribal Lands
More than a dozen years ago, I manned a booth in Yellowstone National Park to inform people about conservation-based solutions for protecting bison. Visitors from across the United States and around the world all had the same question: Why are buffalo being shot when they leave the park?
Since the mid-1990s, the National Wildlife Federation has been working to ensure people won’t have to ask that question. We believe restoration to other landscapes is a better management strategy to resolve livestock-wildlife conflicts. We envisioned a future when Yellowstone bison, the last genetically pure, free-roaming, wild bison population in the U.S., could provide animals to establish new herds across the West.
In 1997, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the Intertribal Bison Cooperative, the first ever conservation agreement between an environmental organization and a tribal organization, to advocate for the return of wild bison to tribal lands. NWF and the tribes shared a common vision – restoring wild bison to their historical habitat and restoring Native peoples’ cultural connections to bison. But the political opposition to the return of the bison seemed insurmountable…
(read more: NWF)
(photos: L - , R - Stephen C. Torbit/NWF, bttm - Jack Dykinga/USDA)