Growing up, we’ve always had at least two animals in our house. My brother and I have always loved the idea of taking care of something that is ours. If we wanted a new pet, we’d both do research (we were pretty sophisticated for being 10 years old), we’d buy books, and watch as much Animal Planet as humanly possible. From dogs, to birds, to turtles, to lizards, my family is pretty much open to any kind of animal. With that being said, animals of all kinds have emotional control over me. If I see the cutest puppies playing outside, I will be the first one to go over and pet them and let them lick my face until it’s raw.
In other words, I love animals. I’m all for animal rights and the protection of endangered species and all that good stuff.
While browsing news articles in the Native American Times, I came across an article involving buffalo; being an animal lover, I immediately clicked on it and started reading…
And once again I am impressed and envious of Native American action.
As we all know, the American buffalo nearly went extinct after the “commercial hunting and slaughtering in the 19th century” (source 1, pg 1). The number of buffalo left in our entire country was down to a few hundred! White hunters of the 19th century would kill the buffalo only for their skins, and leave the rest of the body to decay. Is that not the most wasteful use of an animal?
Unlike the white hunters and merchants, the indigenous people of America killed buffalo in moderate numbers and utilized the entire animal. The Native Americans openly attribute their subsistence to the buffalo. With gratitude and respect for the animal, the “Sioux and Assiniboine tribes of Fort Peck Indian Reservation have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing 5,000 rolling acres in northeastern Montana for 50 wild bison from Yellowstone National Park” (source 2, pg 1); they want to bring the buffalo back. Along with providing hunting-free land for the bison, this land acts as an area of isolation, making sure that the common disease called brucellosis is not present in any of the bison; and this project also includes a year-round water source for the bison, helping to ensure their survival. After some time in this set aside land, the wild buffalo will be reintroduced to parts of the West where buffalo once roamed free and thrived- many bison would be relocated to Indian reservations, where they used to live.
Though it sounds positive and promising, many of the farmers in Montana are not pleased with the goals of this project. They are worried that if the bison roam free in large numbers, they’ll step on and ruin crops. And some people are worried about bison being dangerous.
Let’s get real. I believe the argument against the reintroduction of buffalo is ignorant and selfish.
Solution to farmers: build a fence?
Solution to people scared of animals: don’t provoke ‘em?
It’s interesting how people still only see the downsides to situations- they are only worried about themselves, not the animal, not the benefits it can bring to the Indian people, not the future educational resources buffalo provides…
This project is going to happen, but the relocation areas depend on voting.
I’ll keep this blog posted about where the relocation areas end up being.