BFC Board Meeting ~ Fireside Storytelling
Every Spring BFC Board Members and our Executive Director travel to campaign headquarters for our end of the field season board meeting. Coordinators and volunteers, as well as invited guests, come together to hear the stories from the season and to review what went well and where improvement is needed. We also take a critical look at our programs and projects to ensure they continue to achieve our original Mission:
To stop the harassment and slaughter of Yellowstone’s wild buffalo herds; protect the natural habitat of wild, free-roaming buffalo and other native wildlife; and work with all people—especially Indigenous Nations—to honor and protect the sacredness of the wild buffalo
“especially Indigenous Nations”
Sitting in a circle in our “board room”, aka the yurt, as well as circling around a fire, I saw a beautiful piece of our Mission coming together; working with Indigenous Nations...just as co-founders, Rosalie Little Thunder and Mike Mease, always envisioned.
As BFC Board Member and Tribal Summit Coordinator, Dallas Gudgell shares;
“It’s the Tribes that understand long-term, holistic solutions for Yellowstone Bison, grounded in science-based, empirically proven traditional ecological knowledge that has been developed through our ancient relationship with the natural world and our four-legged relatives.”
Chris LaTray, Métis Storyteller, Little Shell Tribe of Chippewa Indians and Buffalo Backbone Subscriber, joined us for the weekend and told stories of the teaching of the Buffalo from the Chippewa. That teaching is Respect. At Chris’s invitation, we all made offerings to the fire that reflected how the Buffalo have taught us Respect...including the ability to meet and discuss difficult topics in a non-violent way so that we Honor the Buffalo that we defend.
BFC Executive Director, James Holt, travelled from his home in Lapwai, Idaho bringing gifts of Salmon for camp, from a place of Honor and Respect;
“As a Nez Perce fisherman, I’m honored to fish for my Sacred Circle of friends. My tribe, the Nez Perce, have now assumed sole management of the Dworshak National Fish Hatchery in Orofino, Idaho. This recognition of our sovereign expertise from other non-tribal government agencies re-affirms how Tribes with treaty-reserved rights for Yellowstone bison consistently demonstrate our inherent capacity for spearheading species recovery, restoration, management, and reintroduction across large landscapes in satisfaction of obligations under the Endangered Species Act, all the while enacting and preserving the treaty rights and cultural lifeways of our people.”
Thank You James for keeping BFC volunteers and coordinators nourished and sharing how to be in Right Relationship
Old Growth Logging on the Horse Butte Peninsula
By Roman Sanchez, BFC Board Member Horse Butte Peninsula--Traditional Calving Grounds for America’s last Wild & Free-roaming Buffalo.
Justy and I are parked at the top-
17 years we’ve been walking this land with many others
fighting for the right to see Buffalo roam free.
When we first started coming here there was
barbed wire - cattle grates - capture facilities -
weeks on-end throughout Winter and Spring
where we witnessed the continued brutality
against this unique free-roaming herd - all in the
name of a Bison Management Plan. Today there are
no helicopters - no men on snowmobiles, ATV’s -
no horsemen running newborn calves - the barbed wire
is gone as are the cattle grates - No!
Today is bird song
and glacier lilies, an Eagle sits in its aerie - white Pelicans
on the Madison -
Aspen leaves quake
As we make - our way
through old-growth Fir
Robins flit from tree to tree-
Arrow Leaf Balsam Root
Petals to the sun
We have the butte to ourselves!
Out from the woods we come
into a meadow and find a herd
of some 32 Buffalo with some 14 calves
lazing and grazing
in the afternoon sun
Mostly mamas and yearlings in this group.
Horse Butte Photo
“protect the natural habitat of wild, free-roaming buffalo and other native wildlife”
I am devastated by the utter destruction to this ONE PLACE outside of the park where wild Buffalo are allowed to live. I believed we had at least “won” Horse Butte when MT Governor designated it as year round wild bison habitat in 2016. I am angry at myself for believing that we would be able to shut down this logging operation before massive damage could be done. But this company took the whole Old Growth Forest down! This is how the United States Forest Service manages our public lands and I am ready for a change. While I know that Tribal Co-stewardship may not be perfect...the status quo must go!
Roman and I will head back to the Butte and make offerings of Gratitude for all the Butte Is and ask for Forgiveness for the destruction we humans have inflicted.
We carry on
A Buffalo trace
in this place
Where beauty abounds
& we are surrounded
by the knowledge
of this Last Wild Herd Survivors
in the truest sense of the word
once 60 million strong!
Wild Bison Calving Season
“to honor and protect the sacredness of the wild buffalo”
Thank Goodness for the Red Dogs! New life bounding and playing and running and jumping. The reminder of what is truly Sacred. A reminder of why we are here...
Our goal as a Board is that we move forward with Respect...like the Buffalo. We believe we are on a Good Trace.
Thank you for being on the path with us...
For the Buffalo, Justine Sanchez BFC Board President