On October 14, 2016, members of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council announced plans to reintroduce bison to a protected cultural area just outside Glacier National Park.
The goal is to allow the bison currently under tribal control to roam the Badger-Two Medicine area freely.
The bison come from the Elk Island herd in Canada and, according to tribal officials, are genetically pure and disease-free.
The Blackfeet Tribe for 30 years has managed a Tribal herd of bison and in March of 2016 scored a major coup in securing 98 yearling bison from Canada.
The ancestors of these bison were captured on the Blackfeet Reservation and moved to the Salish-Kootenai Reservation in 1870.
In a press release, Harry Barnes, Chairman of the Blackfeet Tribe, stated, “I am proud our bison and our the current Tribal Council for taking this bold move on behalf of future generations of Blackfeet people. Since the beginning of time we have been a buffalo people. Since the adoption of our buffalo treaty we have progressively pursue restoration of buffalo and our lands. This proclamation is the logical next step in those goals.”
“Since the beginning of time we have been a buffalo people,” Barnes said. “Since the adoption of our buffalo treaty, we have progressively pursued restoration of buffalo and our lands. This proclamation is the logical next step in those goals.”
Barnes continued, “We thank the U.S. Forrest Service for their continued stewardship of these sacred Tribal lands and look forward to working with them toward full restoration of this most valuable ecosystem. We have continued a dialogue with Parks Canada and the U.S. Park Service to restore bison into Glacier National and Waterton. Prophecies shared by our Blackfeet elders say when the buffalo return, a new strong Blackfeet woman will raise up Blackfeet warriors to move the Blackfeet Nation into a brighter future.”
Photo of bison in Yellowstone National Park via Adobe Stock Photos