InterTribal Bison Cooperative Position Statement

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InterTribal Bison Cooperative

Position Statement

Tribes have played an integral part in the restoration

of buffalo in the United States. Individual Tribal members

and Tribes have been doing the hard work needed to

preserve this very important figure in historical Tribal

life since the early 1900s and continue today because

of the relationship Indian people have with the buffalo.

Early Tribal life was based around the buffalo and the

buffalo provided everything Tribal people needed to

live, including food, utensils, clothing and homes. This

has not been done out of a desire to preserve an animal

in a zoo setting or to have an animal around for show.

Tribal peoples feel that the restoration of the buffalo will

restore the strength of the Indian Nation.
The InterTribal Bison Cooperative’s mission statement

is: “To restore bison to Indian Nations in a manner

that is compatible with their spiritual and cultural beliefs

and practices.” Since inception in 1992 ITBC has grown

to 57 Tribes in 18 states with over fifty Tribal herds in

operation today. The restoration of buffalo can not come

at a better time as Tribal people have some of the highest

rates of obesity, diabetes, cardio-vascular disease and other

diet related illnesses. Buffalo meat is the healthiest red

meat available and can act as the cure for these diseases.

As the leader on buffalo issues in Indian Country

ITBC has been heavily involved in the Yellowstone

bison issues and continues this effort today. ITBC

developed alternatives to the current bison management

plan in place at Yellowstone but these were overlooked.

ITBC finds serious fault with any management plan in

which the only management action that takes place on

a regular basis is the wholesale slaughter of buffalo.

ITBC has the necessary experience and ability to

properly manage the Yellowstone buffalo through working

agreements with the Tribes and federal government

and would use techniques that are in use today in Tribal

herds. These techniques, developed through generations

of relationships with the buffalo, incorporate values into

the handling of the buffalo that treats the buffalo with

the respect and honor they deserve.

At present ITBC is working with a multitude of

organizations to highlight the terrible injustice that the

Yellowstone buffalo are enduring for following their

natural instincts. ITBC believes that any management

option requires participation of Tribal peoples in order

to develop a program that will allow the buffalo to be

treated in a humane manner.
Jim Stone is Executive Director of the InterTribal Bison Cooperative.
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