in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem are not protected on
their year-round habitat. Yellowstone Park does not provide
sufficient winter range for the resident herds of wildlife.
Due to the deep snow, animals are forced to leave the park
in order to find adequate forage for winter survival. When
the buffalo follow their instincts and migrate to lower
elevations, they enter a conflict zone where the politics
of Montana directly clash with their survival needs.
During the winter of 1996-97, the Montana Department of
Livestock (DOL) slaughtered almost 1,100 Yellowstone buffalo
when they crossed the arbitrary park boundary into the state.
These killings, combined with deaths from the unusually
severe winter, resulted in a loss of nearly two-thirds of
That winter , the state of Montana and federal officials
learned that they could no longer kill buffalo with impunity.
Buffalo Nations (Now Buffalo Field Campaign), a non-profit
grassroots coalition of Native American and non-Native environmentalists
formed under the leadership of Michael Mease, videographer
and founder of Cold Mountain, Cold Rivers, and Lakota activist
Rosalie Little Thunder, with Seventh Generation Fund.
Our daily patrols and grassroots advocacy made it clear
to the DOL that they would be held accountable for their
actions. Everyday we stand with buffalo who are outside
of the park from before sunrise until sunset.
Historically, the buffalo was essential to the survival
of the Plains tribes. Last century, Phil Sheridan recognized
this relationship, and in a strategic move to bring the
tribes to their knees, launched an attack on their very
source of life, the buffalo. When it was over, 60 million
buffalo lay dead.
With that annihilation still fresh in history, the recent
slaughter of 1/3 of the wild Yellowstone buffalo is very
troubling to tribal people. This is yet another genocidal
assault on native cultures. As Yellowstone National Park
celebrates it's 125th anniversary, Native Americans shudder
as they watch history repeat itself.
Americans are alarmed that Montana State officials can attack
our national heritage and show disregard for a species so
vital to this ecosystem. In the midst of political and scientific
complexities, one reality remains clear and simple-the buffalo
are being killed.
We will help strengthen the tribal voices in the protection
of the sacred Yellowstone buffalo. Buffalo Field Campaign
(formerly Buffalo Nations)
Buffalo Field Camapign will also help tribal and non tribal
voices unite together to speak out strongly for the buffalo.