American Indian tribes are to be included at last in effort to preserve the country’s bison. The bipartisan Indian Buffalo Management Act, introduced by Representative Don Young of Alaska and co-sponsored by Representative Norma Torres of California, is a fundamental step toward environmental justice and promoting the inclusion of Tribal nations in protecting and conserving the buffalo species.
The bill establishes a permanent program within the Department of the Interior to develop and promote tribal ownership and management of buffalo and buffalo habitat on Indian lands. Jason Baldes, board member of the Inter-Tribal Buffalo Council says, “The Indian Buffalo Management Act would not only help tribal nations restore buffalo to their rightful home, but offer a chance for native people to reconnect, heal and revitalize our historical and cultural connections.” In turn, the legislation is hoped to expand capacity and revitalize and proliferate the population of buffalo across the country.
For many years, bison being removed from the Yellowstone population have been relocated to nearby tribal lands through more localized arrangements to manage and restore the population.