Northern Arapaho Tribe welcomes buffalo herd in Wyoming, United States

Saturday, October 19, 2019

On Wednesday, more than 100 members, reportedly, of the Northern Arapaho Tribe turned out to watch the release of ten buffalo for the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming in the western United States.

An American bison, called a buffalo, in Texas. From file. (Image: Jerry Drudge)

Elementary school students sang, Elder Nelson White provided a prayer, and the buffalo were released from a livestock trailer into a into a 48-acre space set aside for them in Kinnear. These American bison, commonly called buffalo, came from the National Bison Range in western Montana run by the U.S. federal government. The animals were transported more than 500 miles (800 km).

"With everything that's happened to our people, our language, our culture, we feel that bringing the buffalo back here is going to heal us[,]" Crystal C'Bearing of the Northern Arapaho tribal historic preservation office told those gathered to watch the release.

The Arapaho have plans to widen the buffalo's range to 600 acres and report they are considering eventually pooling resources with the nearby Eastern Shoshone Tribe, who currently have a herd of 33 buffalo.

"I think [working with the Eastern Shoshone]'s definitely a possibility. There's no sense in having two private herds[,]" said Devin Oldman, who helped manage the delivery of the buffalo. "I would think that we would try to get our numbers up to one or two hundred before we do that so we have a nice strong herd."

In the 1800s, the buffalo were hunted nearly to extinction not only for their valuable hides but also because many U.S. generals, including President Ulysses S. Grant, believed that removing the buffalo would undermine the economies of many of the Native American tribes that depended on them for food and goods and make it easier to push them onto reservations.