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New Legislation Will Help Restore Buffalo on Tribal Lands

WASHINGTON, D.C.  — New bipartisan legislation from U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) would help restore buffalo, which were nearly exterminated in the 19th century, back to their native habitat on tribal lands. The Indian Buffalo Management Act (H.R.5153), which has the support of the 69 member tribes of the InterTribal Buffalo Council and bipartisan co-sponsors including Reps. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.) and Tom Cole (R-Okla.), respects the critical role Native American tribes have played in stewarding buffalo as well as their deep ecological and spiritual connections to the iconic species. 

“The Indian Buffalo Management Act would help tribal nations restore bison to their rightful home and offer a chance for native people to reconnect, heal and revitalize our historical and cultural connections,” said Jason Baldes, board member of the InterTribal Buffalo Council and tribal buffalo coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation. “Colonialism attempted to annihilate our language, our culture and us as a people. This legislation would be a step toward making it right. The buffalo’s story is not only a Native American story but an American story as well.” 

“The National Wildlife Federation and tribal partners share a common vision of restoring tens of thousands of buffalo on millions of acres of tribal lands,” said Garrit Voggesser, director of the Tribal Partnerships Program. “The Indian Buffalo Management Act would provide support in expanding restoration efforts and empower tribal nations to take buffalo conservation into their own hands.” 

The Indian Buffalo Management Act would establish an Interior Department program to work with tribes on the protection and conservation of buffalo herds and promote the inclusion of tribal nations in key decision making. 

 

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