Events and Rallies Aim to Draw Attention to the Plight of America’s National Mammal
Stephany Seay, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-0070 (Mon/Tues); 406-580-0482 (Wed-Fri)
Mike Mease, Buffalo Field Campaign, 406-646-0070 (Mon/Tues); 406-580-0482 (Wed-Fri)
West Yellowstone, Montana: The Montana-based wild bison advocacy group, Buffalo Field Campaign, will hold a Week of Action, February 11 - 17, 2019, traveling to southwest Montana towns for a series of rallies, gatherings, and speaking engagements to spotlight the need to defend America’s last continuously wild buffalo populations, the Yellowstone herds. The wild buffalo of Yellowstone have existed on the landscape since prehistoric times, yet they are still met with extreme and violent intolerance by state and federal agencies when they migrate towards their native Montana habitat. Under the Interagency Bison Management Plan (IBMP), a highly controversial joint government arrangement, wild, migratory buffalo are threatened with extensive hunting, capture for slaughter, capture for quarantine (domestication), hazing and harassment, and scientific experiment. Buffalo are held sacred by many Native cultures, are a keystone species, and the country’s National Mammal.
Montana’s livestock lobby drives the mismanagement of the gentle giants because they fear wild buffalo threaten their heavily subsidized industry. Since the mid-1990’s, the Montana Department of Livestock has been granted authority over wild buffalo under a state law, MCA 81-2-120, which is also the catalyst for the IBMP. The Montana legislature, which is dominated by cattle interests, is in session this year and lawmakers have been busy churning out anti-bison legislation to thwart sensible wild bison restoration efforts.
“We are holding these events to show Montana decision-makers and Yellowstone National Park officials that Montanans and people around the world are fed up with the brutal treatment forced upon wild buffalo,” said BFC co-founder Mike Mease. “Buffalo are our National Mammal, a keystone species critical to the health of grassland and prairie communities, and they are deeply sacred to their Native human relatives.”
The schedule for the Week of Action is as follows or can be viewed here:
Monday, February 11
West Yellowstone, Montana, BFC Headquarters. Arrive to camp, settle in or join us in the field.
Tuesday, February 12
National Call-in Day. Bison advocates will be expressing their views with decision-makers who are negatively impacting the lives of wild buffalo. Targets will be announced on Tuesday via a special email alert.
Wednesday, February 13
Gardiner, Montana. Annual Rosalie Little Thunder Memorial Walk. Bison advocates will gather at the Gallatin National Forest office, where we will embark upon a very special event, the Annual Rosalie Little Thunder Memorial Walk. This will be the second walk honoring our co-founder and hero, Lakota elder Rosalie Little Thunder. Advocates will gather banners and signs, share some food, and head through the town of Gardiner and into Yellowstone National Park, passing by the Stephens Creek buffalo trap and ending the walk at the north boundary at the Beattie Gulch trailhead. After the walk we will share a hot meal and hold a special candlelight vigil to honor Rosalie and all the buffalo who have lost their lives to the controversial Interagency Bison Management Plan.
Thursday, February 14
Bozeman, Montana. Buffalo supporters will post up at the Bozeman Public Library from 11am - 4pm for food, information, and a fun rally! Our famous buffaloon will be there to mark the way, and we will get out into the streets to bring attention to the country’s last wild buffalo and the dire need to protect these gentle giants. Participants are encouraged to bring drums, flutes, banners, and friends!
Friday, February 15
Helena, Montana. Join us on the front steps of Montana’s capitol building to bring attention to the Montana legislature. We will be joined by other organizations and Native speakers. The event is from 12pm - 3pm. Lunch will be provided.
Saturday, February 16
West Yellowstone, Montana. Meet up at BFC headquarters and then join us as we take to the streets of West Yellowstone and spread the word to save the herds!
Sunday, February 17
BFC Headquarters. A day of being in the field, sharing stories, and enjoying food after a successful week! This is how we will wind down and honor our family members who have taken the time to come stand in defense of the last wild buffalo.
Buffalo Field Campaign has been holding their Week of Action for many years, and each year the positive feedback and showing of support increases.
“The majority of Montanans, Native Tribes, and Americans country-wide want wild buffalo to be protected and to flourish,” said BFC media coordinator Stephany Seay. “We are calling on Yellowstone National Park to keep their trap shut, and on Montana decision-makers to keep wild buffalo wild, repeal MCA 81-2-120, and to respect wild buffalo like wild elk in Montana.”