November 2, 2013 Named National Bison Day

Image of Single Buffalo

The 113th Congress passed Senate Resolution 254 (click here to read the full resolution) designating November 2, 2013 as “National Bison Day.”

The U.S. Congress acknowledged some important historical and present-day facts about the North American Bison and its connection to Native Americans. The congressional resolution is a piece of healing for the history of the United States—on December 8, 1905, the U.S. formed the American Bison Society due to the near extinction of the bison after its own military campaign to reduce the bisons’ numbers. Presently, Congress calls the bison not only “a historical symbol of the United States,” but “integrally linked with the economic and spiritual lives of many Indian tribes through trade and sacred ceremonies.”

The exact language in the resolution mentions the significance of the Intertribal Buffalo Council and that more than 60 Indian tribes participate in the Council. Equally important is the fact that the resolution highlights that there are “numerous members of Indian tribes [who] are involved in bison restoration on tribal land…[and that] members of Indian tribes have a combined herd on more than 1,000,000 acres of tribal land.”

The Senate Resolution also highlights the health and economic benefits of bison to both people and the environment stating that “bison can play an important role in improving the types of grasses found in landscapes to the benefit of grasslands…bison hold significant economic value for private producers and rural communities…[and] as of 2007, the United States had 4,499 bison producers creating jobs and providing a sustainable and healthy meat source contributing to the food security of the United States.” The resolution also states that “there is a growing effort to celebrate and officially recognize the historical, cultural, and economic significance of the North American bison to the heritage of the United States.”

The importance of such a resolution, in addition to the efforts at Tanka Fund to restore bison to the land, diets, and economies of Native Americans, is that several organizations are working to bring “together bison ranchers, managers from Indian tribes, Federal and State agencies, conservation organizations, and natural and social scientists from the United States, Canada, and Mexico to create a vision for the North American bison in the 21st century.”

Support Tanka Fund and the healthy lands, healthy people, and healthy economies of Indian Country.

Christine McCleave,
Indian Land Tenure Foundation