AP

Native American tribes get bison as they seek to restore bond with animal

Mar 15, 2023, 4:05 PM | Updated: 5:16 pm

One of the 35 Denver Mountain Park bison stands in a corral as it waits to be transferred to repres...

One of the 35 Denver Mountain Park bison stands in a corral as it waits to be transferred to representatives of four Native American tribes and one memorial council so they can reintroduce the animals to tribal lands Wednesday, March 15, 2023, near Golden, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

GOLDEN, Colo. (AP) — Nearly three dozen bison from a mountain park outside Denver were transferred Wednesday to several tribes from across the Great Plains, in the latest example of Native Americans reclaiming stewardship over animals their ancestors lived alongside for millennia.

Following ceremonial drumming and singing and an acknowledgement of the tribes that once occupied the surrounding landscape, the bison were loaded onto trucks for relocation to tribal lands in several states.

Six of the animals from Colorado will form the nucleus of a new herd for the Yuchi people south of Tulsa, Oklahoma, said Richard Grounds with the Yuchi Language Project.

The herd will be expanded over time, to reestablish a spiritual and physical bond broken two centuries ago when bison were nearly wiped out and the Yuchi were forced from their homeland, Grounds said.

He compared the burly animals’ return to reviving the Yuchi’s language — and said both language and bison were inseparable from the land. Bison were “the original caretakers” of that land, he said.

“We’ve lost that connection to the buffalo, that physical connection, as part of the colonial assault,” Grounds said. “So we’re saying, we Yuchi people are still here and it’s important to reconnect and restore those relationships with the land, with the animals and the plants.”

Bison from the Denver park also were transferred to the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes in Wyoming, the Porcupine District of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota and the Tall Bull Memorial Council, which has members from various tribes.

Wednesday’s transfer came two weeks after U.S. Interior Secretary Deb Haaland issued a bison conservation order meant to further expand the number of large herds on Native American lands. Haaland also announced $25 million to build new herds, transfer more bison from federal to tribal lands and forge new bison management agreements with tribes, officials said.

American bison, also known as buffalo, have bounced back from near-extinction in the 1880s but remain absent from most of the grasslands they once occupied.

Across the U.S., 82 tribes now have more than 20,000 bison, and the number of herds on tribal lands have grown in recent years. The animals have been transferred to reservations from other tribes, from federal, state and local governments and from private ranches.

Tens of millions of bison once roamed North America until they were killed off almost entirely by white settlers, commercial hunters and U.S. troops. Their demise devastated Native American tribes across the continent that relied on bison and their parts for food, clothing and shelter.

The animals transferred to the tribes Wednesday descend from the last remnants of the great herds. They were under care of the Denver Zoo and kept in a city park before being moved to foothills west of Denver in 1914.

Surplus animals from the city’s herd were for many years auctioned off, but in recent years city officials began transferring them to tribes instead, said Scott Gilmore, deputy executive director of Denver Parks and Recreation.

Gilmore said the land acknowledgement statement read out loud during Wednesday’s ceremony underscored the historical importance of the area to the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Ute and dozens of other tribes that once lived in the area. But he added those were just “words on a piece of paper.”

“What we’re are doing is putting action to those words for Indigenous people. Buffalo are part of the land, they are part of their family,” Gilmore said. “They are taking their family members back to their ancestral home.”

To date, 85 bison from Denver have been transferred to tribes and tribal organizations. City officials said the shipments will continue through 2030.

___

Brown reported from Billings, Montana.

KSL 5 TV Live

AP

The Google sign is shown over an entrance to the company's new building in New York on Wednesday, S...

Adam Beam and Tran Nguyen, Associated Press

In threat to legislature, Google removes news sites from searches

In an acting threat against the California legislature, Google began removing California news websites from searches on Friday.

3 hours ago

FILE - Border Patrol station in Harlingen, Texas. (David Pike/Valley Morning Star via AP, File)Cred...

Associated Press

Amid increased enforcement in Mexico, US Border arrests fall

Arrests for illegally crossing the US border fell by 2.3% from February to March.

3 hours ago

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 28: Hunter Biden, son of U.S. President Joe Biden, listens as his attorne...

Alanna Durkin Richer and Lindsay Whitehurst, Associated Press

Judge rules Hunter Biden gun case will move forward, rejects political motivation

A Delaware federal judge refused to dismiss a case against Hunter Biden, rejecting claims about its political motivation.

3 hours ago

Handcuffs...

Carolyn Thompson and Jim Mustian, AP

DEA Agent convicted for obstruction, walks away from Buffalo bribe charges

A federal jury convicted a former DEA agent of obstruction, but could not reach a verdict on bribery charges.

3 hours ago

PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - APRIL 12: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump and...

Lisa Mascaro and Jill Colvin, Associated Press

Trump gives support to embattled Speaker Mike Johnson at pivotal Mar-a-Lago meet

Donald Trump has given his support to embattled House Speaker Mike Johnson during a visit to the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida.

6 hours ago

Oakland officials have voted in favor of changing the name of the city’s airport to San Francisco...

Olga R. Rodriguez and Christopher Weber

Oakland officials vote to include ‘San Francisco’ in airport’s name

Oakland officials have voted in favor of changing the name of the city’s airport to San Francisco Bay Oakland International Airport.

14 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Native American tribes get bison as they seek to restore bond with animal