* Update from the Field
Agents from the Montana Department of Livestock trespass on buffalo-friendly private property to forcefully move wild buffalo moms, calves and others from Horse Butte towards Yellowstone National Park. Photo by Ann Stovall. Click photos for larger images.
It appears that the Montana Department of Livestock's (DOL) taxpayer funded buffalo harassment operations have finally ceased for the season. Sadly, this means there are no longer any wild buffalo in Montana. They have again been extirpated from their native Montana winter range and calving grounds. Last Tuesday, wild buffalo were again hazed off of Horse Butte where the DOL began by trespassing on the Galanis property. The following day, more wild buffalo were chased off of other areas of Gallatin National Forest, across the Madison River, south of Horse Butte. The Galanis family is not standing by idly as the DOL repeatedly violates their private property rights, rudely disrespecting their buffalo safe-zone, nor are the American people standing idly by as the DOL abuses our nation's wildlife and wild lands.
The buffalo are now in their current summer ranges, inside Yellowstone National Park, being heavily photographed and otherwise admired by millions of park visitors. BFC is also here, talking with the people who come to Yellowstone from around the world. We are here to share with them all of the chapters of the buffalo's story, to educate and empower people, to build a strong constituency for wild buffalo, one that is constantly growing.
You are that strong constituency of wild bison advocates, you are Buffalo Field Campaign, and no matter where you roam you can make a difference for America's last wild buffalo. You are the ones who make it possible for BFC to have a front lines presence, to fight for wild buffalo in the court rooms and on Capitol Hill, to travel around the country spreading the word to save these sacred herds. Now that summer is upon us, our outreach efforts are at full throttle, and we invite you to join us. Please read on to see all the ways you can help! Thank you for being with us for the buffalo!
* THEY'RE HERE! Newsletters & Wild Bison 2013 Calendars
Here is the front cover of the current newsletter. Click for larger image.
Please email Kasi to help distribute them!
Hot off the press! BFC's 2012-2013 newsletter is complete and on it's way to you! If you want to be sure that you receive yours, please contact our office coordinator, Kasi, to ensure we have your correct mailing address. And if you are able to place newsletters around your community to help spread the word, please let Kasi know how many you would like and where to mail them. Thank you!
This beautiful and tender cover photo, by the amazingly talented Sandy Sisti, offers a glimpse of the magnificent assortment of new photos you'll cherish in BFC's 2013 Wild Bison Calendar. Click image for larger view.
BFC is proud to present our 2013 Yellowstone Country Wild Bison Calendar. This is our third year of producing these amazing calendars, and this year's is our most thrilling and inspiring version yet! Loaded with amazing new photos, artwork, poetry and wild buffalo facts, this calendar is a must have. Great for your home or office, and a wonderful gift idea. Celebrate wild buffalo 365 days a year with BFC's 2013 Wild Bison calendars! ORDER TODAY!
* World Prayers for Peace Unifies the People, Re-ignites Life Fire of the Buffalo
The drive to Jackson, WY from the mountains of northern Colorado is my favorite. Highway 287 North into the Wind River Range and up to the Tetons is spectacular. While there are small towns and the Wind River Reservation along the way, ample open space with plenty of room to roam make the drive feel spacious and liberating. My son, Japhy, almost 16 and driving the highways for the first time, and I sarcastically joke that there is obviously no room for buffalo on these lands.
We have made this drive every year for the past 12 years to honor our commitment to the buffalo. This time we head to Jackson, not West Yellowstone, for World Peace and Prayer Day (WPPD). We make our way to the prayer site and campground by mid-day, Monday, June 18th, excited to meet Chief Arvol Looking Horse, the 19th generation keeper of the sacred white buffalo calf pipe. We are also happy to meet up with our BFC brother, Mike Mease, who will speak today as well.
A large stone circle is marked with openings at the four directions. The gathering crowd enters through the East after being smudged or cleansed. We circle clockwise around the center fire pit, close to 100 people present. The ceremony begins with the lighting of the sacred fire and Chief Arvol Looking Horse speaking. Unity, peace, community, love, heart strength, the white animals, buffalo, and power are all words being circulated. We each take a pinch of tobacco and spiral around the fire, making our Prayer for Peace, our offering.
Several honored guests speak; from Australia, South Africa, South Central Los Angeles, and West Yellowstone. When Mike speaks, he tells stories from his time in the field with the buffalo. He shares the privilege it is to stand with the buffalo. He is humble and grateful. He is powerful. I feel humble, too. To hear Chief Arvol Looking Horse speak about the importance of our work at BFC brings clarity to my dedication to our cause. All the years of hard work, sometimes mundane tasks and boredom. Many times feelings of frustration and futility. It all seems so clear in this Circle, at this Fire. We are with the buffalo and the buffalo are with the people. All that we do, day in and day out, in the field or in our homes, is felt across the globe. Just as this WPPD is united with those that happen around the world, the work we do to protect the buffalo is for all people, all animals, all life. I feel proud.
The next morning the sacred fire still burns and will continue to burn for four days until Summer Solstice. Mike, Japhy, and I are invited into the circle to receive a blessing on our travels home. Chief Four Souls call us into ceremony and then invites us each to speak. Mike and I share our gratitude and our love of the buffalo. Japhy, taken a bit by surprise at the request to speak, starts slowly. He shares of his studies at school this past year; an in depth look at Body and Soul. He says he feels this fire, this ceremony, is a real practice of what he had pursued intellectually this past year. He notes that much focus in our culture is put on being an individual, on how you stand apart from the rest. But here, at this sacred fire, we practice unity. We are all one family. Again, I feel proud. I know that my son speaks with a strong heart. The heart of a buffalo warrior. Chief Four Souls locks arms with Japhy and offers him a blessing on this, his 16th year.
I am so grateful for the buffalo, for BFC, for Chief Arvol Looking Horse and Chief Four Souls, for my family, and for World Peace and Prayer Day!
As we drive home, south through the Winds and into Colorado, I can see buffalo all across these lands...for all people, for all animals, for all life!
BFC Board Member
* Take Action! Help Protect Public Lands from Harmful Cattle Grazing!
Numerous bills are looming in the halls of Congress that could increase destructions caused by public lands cattle grazing, and could also lessen the public's voice in how these lands are used. Many of these bills will be up for a vote soon and we must take proactive steps now. Please visit the link below to learn more and ask your House Representatives to vote against any legislation that exacerbates the harm caused by cattle grazing on public lands.
Help our wild lands and the wildlife that inhabit them.
* Wanted: Summer Outreach Volunteers
Buffalo Field Campaign is a presence inside Yellowstone National Park every summer, and we are looking for passionate, articulate folks who can help run our information table, discuss the buffalo with park visitors, and help build support for wild buffalo. BFC provides food, lodging, and transportation to and from our table in the Park. We ask for at least a two week commitment in order to accommodate training and orientation. This is a great opportunity to get involved and advocate for America's last wild buffalo! Please contact Demmi for more information.
* Join BFC for Wood Cut Week at BFC September 10-15, 2012
Mark your calendars and come to BFC! The week of September 10th through the 15th is BFC's Annual Wood Cut Week! We will be gathering, cutting and stacking wood for the coming winter field season. Bring your chain saw if you have one, and bring lots of friends! Room and board provided, and there's also plenty of camping space available. Please contact Mike Mease for more info at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406-646-0070.
* Thanks for Visiting Buffalo Field Campaign!
People from all over the country are stopping in to visit Buffalo Field Campaign and learn more about what we do to protect America's last wild buffalo. Over 20 educators and teachers hosted by Kennesaw State University (Georgia) met with our campaign to talk buffalo and to visit the Madison River, a migration corridor critical to the survival of our last wild buffalo. Another group of students hosted by Wild Rockies Field Institute (University of Montana) also came to visit camp and take a short field trip to Horse Butte Peninsula. Thank you educators and students for caring and visiting BFC to learn how you can get involved to protect America's wild buffalo heritage.
Do you have a school or student group that would like to join BFC in wild buffalo country and get some in depth, expert insight on the issues wild buffalo face today? Please contact us.
* By the Numbers
AMERICAN BUFFALO ELIMINATED from the last wild population in the U.S. The last wild population is currently estimated at fewer than 3,700 individual buffalo. Wild bison are currently ecologically extinct throughout their native range in North America.
2011-2012 Total Buffalo Killed: 30
2011-2012 Government Capture: 10
2011-2012 Buffalo Released from Capture: 7
2011-2012 Government Slaughter:
2011-2012 Held for Government Experiment: 3
2011-2012 Died In Government Trap:
2011-2012 Miscarriage in Government Trap:
2011-2012 State & Treaty Hunts: 28
2011-2012 Shot by Agents:
2011-2012 Killed by Angry Residents:
2011-2012 Highway Mortality: 2
2010-2011 Total: 227
2009-2010 Total: 7
2008-2009 Total: 22
2007-2008 Total: 1,631
* Total Since 2000: 4,005*
*includes lethal government action, trap-related fatalities, quarantine/experiments, hunts, highway mortality
* Last Words ~ Good Shield
"Iron Horse, you have marked the beginning
of a great sadness for our people
And the blood of our buffalo have stained these plains forever
And we see before us our ways of life nearing oblivion
But we will walk this trail of tears for seven generations
And there will then be a great awakening
That will breath life, once again into the fire with no end
As individuals, we are much like fingers and can be easily broken
But when we unite, we make one mighty fist..."
~ Good Shield Aguilar
From his song, "Transcontinental Conspiracy." Good Shield is a very talented Native musician and BFC family member. Learn more about this amazing buffalo warrior and his incredible music at www.goodshieldaguilar.com
Do you have submissions for Last Words? Send them to us. Thank you for all the poems, songs, quotes and stories you have been sending! Keep them coming!