Buffalo Field Campaign is the only group working in the field, in the courts and in the policy arena to protect America’s last wild buffalo. Photo Credit: Kim Kaiser
HELENA, MONTANA — Buffalo Field Campaign will support tribal communities at the State Capitol in Helena, Montana on Tuesday, February 10. We will be joined by people from across Montana as we bring together voices on behalf of wild buffalo and wolves. A schedule of the day’s events is located below.
“It’s time to love the buffalo, respect the wolf, honor their sacred relationship with First Nations, and change the oppressive tactics that now govern their fate,” said Buffalo Field Campaign co-founder Mike Mease.
Buffalo Field Campaign is joining this event as part of our Week of Action, in an effort to help raise awareness and support for First Nations, wolves, and America’s last wild buffalo, the Yellowstone herds, which are currently under attack by Montana livestock interests and signatories to the Interagency Bison Management Plan.
Carol Dubay, an elder member of the Confederated Salish, Kootenai, Pend d’Orielle Tribes, said, “The State of Montana must help restore and honor the balance of Nature’s trust and immediately cease and desist in the senseless slaughter of bison and wolves. I hereby invoke tribal sovereign authority and demand that the State of Montana stop violating nature’s sacred trust and instead honor the spirit of the Hellgate Treaty of 1855 and the U.S. Constitution.”
“Big Medicine, Sacred White Bison: born, lived, died on the land of the Flathead Nation, his sacred body now in the State Capitol (Helena, Montana) must be returned to his rightful place, our Tribal homelands as a symbol of Montana’s willingness and intent to maintain respectful relations with all Indians.”
“Our people’s Treaty Rights are not being honored by capture and slaughter and artificial limitation of bison range and habitat. No wholesale trucking and slaughter of bison can be substituted for Treaty hunting rights, which include a healthy range and habitat for the original pure strain of bison to survive,” Dubay continued, adding: “Bison are not cattle. Limiting or fencing the bison or isolating herds in quarantine to appease the cattle industry is not good management policy. Range for bison should be expanded to include all usual and customary lands and territories that our peoples inhabited and used in a balanced and respectful way since time immemorial.”
Yellowstone buffalo are America’s last wild, migratory herds and the most important bison population that exists. They are the last to identify as a wildlife species and ecologically extinct throughout their native range. They’ve been added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List for being “threatened with near extinction,” and even Montana designates the species “in greatest conservation need” with conditions “making [bison] vulnerable to global extinction.”
Buffalo Field Campaign and Western Watersheds Project filed a petition (Download the PDF) to list the Yellowstone bison under the Endangered Species Act in November 2014.
Current bison and wolf management policies are found lacking by Jimmy St. Goddard of the Blackfeet Tribe. “Is this what the American Indian’s American dream issupposed to be?” asks St. Goddard. “This American icon is sacred to Indian Nations’ culture and is currently being devastated by political lies and manipulation. We ask for the support of all tribes and the American people to protect all buffalo and wolves in Montana. Indians don’t kill animals for no reason at all and the killing and slaughtering of wolves by Montana and Federal agencies is totally wrong. It is time for Indians to call for a stop to this. It is time for America to stop slaughtering wild buffalo and wolves which are central to our religion, history, and culture.”
Schedule of Events:
Lunch Tuesday, February 10, 11:30 a.m. Helena Indian Center 501 Euclid Ave Helena, Montana Get directions
Rally for America’s Buffalo and Wolves Tuesday, February 10, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Montana State Capitol, Rotunda – North steps 1301 East 6th Avenue Helena, Montana Get directions
Salmon Feed Tuesday, February 10, 5:00 p.m. Helena Indian Center 501 Euclid Ave Helena, Montana Get directions
West Yellowstone and Gardiner, Montana-based Buffalo Field Campaign is a non-profit public interest organization founded in 1997 to protect the natural habitat of wild migratory buffalo and native wildlife, stop the slaughter of America’s last wild buffalo and advocate for their lasting protection, and work with people of all nations to honor the sacredness of wild bison. www.buffalofieldcampaign.org